Are your users sitting comfortably?

Paul Boag

This week on the boagworld show we aim to create a sense of belonging and discuss how to pick your moment to ask users to act.

This week’s show is sponsored by Balsamiq and Fullstory.


Paul Boag: This week on the Boagworld Show, we aim to create a sense of belonging and discuss how best to pick your moment to ask users to act.

This week's show is sponsored by Balsamiq and Fullstory.

Hello, welcome to the Boagworld Show Podcast about aspects of conversion rate, optimization, user experience and strategy. My name is Paul Boag and on this week's show is Marcus Lillington.

Marcus Lillington: Hello, that's my name. You get it right every time, don't you?

Paul Boag: I know! It's impressive, isn't it? After all these years, I still manage to stumble over your name.

Marcus Lillington: So do I. If you don't set your mouth in the right shape or whatever it is, it doesn't come out right.

Paul Boag: La-la-la-la-

Marcus Lillington: Lillington.

Paul Boag: You've got too many Ls. It's an excessive number of Ls there.

Marcus Lillington: Many years ago, when we were having children, and that was decades ago, we did think it would be quite funny to have an Emily Lillington, and a Stella Lillington.

Paul Boag: Oh, dear! That's just cruel.

Marcus Lillington: We didn't.

Paul Boag: How are you anyway, Marcus? Are you keeping well?

Marcus Lillington: I am. I've been to America since the last time we did this, and come back again-

Paul Boag: I know.

Marcus Lillington: So that was quite an interesting thing. I got taken out to an American football game on Saturday afternoon-

Paul Boag: Oh!

Marcus Lillington: … which was, yeah. You think, "Wow, that's great!" And it was great. I didn't know this-

Paul Boag: I sense a but.

Marcus Lillington: Well, there's a but, amazing but.

Paul Boag: Oh, right.

Marcus Lillington: Beforehand, what everybody does is a thing called tailgating, which I didn't know. I was like, "What's that there?" And basically, you drive your car to near the venue, and then you have a party out the back of your car.

Paul Boag: Oh, yes! I've heard of this. Yes, yes, yes.

Marcus Lillington: The weather wasn't great, so it wasn't kind of ideal for that, but anyway, this is in the University of Michigan, in a place called Ann Arbor, up in Michigan. And their football stadium seats … wait for it … 110 thousand people. That's bigger than Wembley, and it was full.

Paul Boag: Well, there's a lot of them, aren't there? crosstalk 00:02:21 There's a lot of Americans.

Marcus Lillington: It blew my mind.

Paul Boag: I know!

Marcus Lillington: In the big house.

Paul Boag: I know. Yeah, they're the grown ups, aren't they? They have lots of them.

Marcus Lillington: Well, they're professional- crosstalk 00:02:33

Paul Boag: But are they happy?

Marcus Lillington: Well, they seem quite happy.

Paul Boag: The trouble is, they are almost professional … Well, they are professional teams, aren't they, 'cause it's a whole thing. I don't, I don't understand it. Do you know why? I don't care, really.

Marcus Lillington: Well, it's just from a … Yeah, not to worry. I was just quite impressed by the numbers. The pro teams would have half that amount in their stadiums. It's because the whole town goes to the football, or the whole town goes to the ice hockey or whatever. It's a big, massive, university town, so it's kind of cool.

Paul Boag: Oh, okay. So it's like a community thing.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah.

Paul Boag: Well, there you go.

Marcus Lillington: Anyway. That was good.

Paul Boag: So, much more important, Marcus, you accidentally you complimented my design work recently. Did you realize you'd done that?

Marcus Lillington: I did.

Paul Boag: I was in shock! And there was no sarcasm emoji or anything.

Marcus Lillington: It was, basically you were kind of … I don't know. It's an e-commerce thing. You talked about it last week-

Paul Boag: Yeah.

Marcus Lillington: … and I thought, "Oh, what this is all about." And then you put out a test on the slack channel, so I'm going to walk in and look at that, and I thought, "Well, if it was me, I would know what I wanted." So I clicked on the, "I Know What I Want." And then I thought, but you basically dealt with all the things in a good way. So that's good design. It deserved a compliment, didn't it? Yes.

Paul Boag: I am confused is the only way I can put it-

Marcus Lillington: Well, you know, praise- crosstalk 00:03:56

Paul Boag: You know. That was very unusual. But, no. That was much appreciated. I thought, "If Marcus is being nice about it, it can't be half bad," was my response to that.

So, actually, that was a lot of fun doing those little tests. Yeah, but this kind of perfectly demonstrates the thing. "Oh, testing. It's hard. We haven't got time in the project." It like took me five minutes to whap that test together and say, "Where would you click?" 'Cause I was like, "Oh, is it kind of obvious?" You know? Are people going to think to click where … Are they going to realize that that's a clickable item? Oh, let's just throw something up.

I can't remember what I used for the first one. It might have been Optimal Workshop. But then in the second one, I used Usability Hub. I've got to say, really good … It's a great little tool that can do all these very simple sketch kind of testing, even on something like a sketch file or a fundshop 00:04:58 file. It's just brilliant, really good. So there you go.

Need to do more of that, in my opinion, people. But most importantly, my design was the best design in the world, and that's what it's all about, really.

Marcus Lillington: And that it's going to be implemented, Paul, or you're going to do all the coding.

Paul Boag: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. If I've still got it from a design point of view, I'm sure my code from 1997 will be just perfect. Nothing much has changed, has it, I don't think? crosstalk 00:05:28

Marcus Lillington: Nothing at all. I'll never forget the day you said, "I'm going to build a CMS." And you did!

Paul Boag: Yeah, I did! So I delivered.

Marcus Lillington: So did Lee, as well.

Paul Boag: I know, right? See? Yeah. This is the confession, right? 'Cause Louis is asking in the chat channel, what it was like, right? When I built a concept management system … Now, bear in mind, this was a bloody long time ago. For a start, it was built using … what was it? Dreamweaver MX, I think it was, that had the ability to create database tables and to integrate with the database.

So I didn't actually hand code any of it. And, yes! Louis has guessed. It loaded the database was an Excel file in the background, because I didn't know anything about even Access. Even Access was a bit advanced.

Eventually the Excel file proved a bit kind of troubling. It struggled a bit, unsurprisingly. So we upgraded to Access. And I remember then getting taught by someone, one of Chris' friends, how to use Sequel server, and that just blew my mind.

Marcus Lillington: Oh, yeah!

Paul Boag: That was a whole nother-

Marcus Lillington: I forgot about him. He was a bit of a genius, wasn't he?

Paul Boag: Yeah.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah.

Paul Boag: Yeah, he was. crosstalk 00:06:59

Marcus Lillington: crosstalk 00:07:01 ASP Classic. Wonderful.

Paul Boag: Yeah. That was all in ASP Classic.

Marcus Lillington: And it was 2002, Louis from the chat room, this all happened. The first year of Headscape.

Paul Boag: Yes, exactly. So it would have been about the same time, Louis. It wasn't late '90s. I was lying. It was the beginning of 2000s. It just … If I say the late '90s, it makes me sound better than I really was.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, well, we can all exaggerate the history, can't we?

Paul Boag: Well, that's the best thing about getting old, isn't it? Making up shit. crosstalk 00:07:30

Marcus Lillington: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, I- crosstalk 00:07:31

Paul Boag: No one else was around by- crosstalk 00:07:33

Marcus Lillington: … you know, ten platinum albums back in the '80s.

Paul Boag: Yeah, you did, didn't you? Exactly. Right.

Now, what are we talking about?

Marcus Lillington: What are we talking about?

Paul Boag: Yes! So today, today, today, today, we are talking about continuing our course, well, our series, on conversion rate optimization, but nice conversion rate optimization. "How to Encourage Clicks Without Being a Dick," is my strap line for this season-

Marcus Lillington: You don't get a bit tired of that now?

Paul Boag: … which, unfortunately, no, no. I'll never … That joke will never get old. Unfortunately, Vitaly at Smashing Magazine has managed to persuade me not to do that as the strap line for my upcoming book on the subject.

Marcus Lillington: With hindsight or time, that seems like the right thing. He's so sensible, isn't he?

Paul Boag: crosstalk 00:08:29 Yeah. "How to Encourage Clicks Without Shady Tricks," I think is his alternative, which I think is even worse, but anyway. We'll put that one on hold.

But, yes, that's what we're talking about this season. We talked about loads of different stuff over the last ten weeks, or the last nine weeks. This is the tenth. This time, we're going to look at two subjects that are closely related, really. Well, no. They're not closely related at all. I'm bullshitting you.

Marcus Lillington: Again.

Paul Boag: Yeah, I know. We're going to look at creating a sense of belonging, and how important that is to encourage conversion rate optimization. We're also going to look at picking moment to ask. Right? So how do we pick the right moment to ask people to convert?

So as you see, they have nothing in common whatsoever. And if I tried to pretend they did, I would've had to do some serious gymnastics in order to- crosstalk 00:09:29

Marcus Lillington: So you just had to come clean.

Paul Boag: I had to come clean. I'm just making crap up.

But, we far more excitingly … Before we get into any of that, we have Marcus' wonderful and original section on his Thought for the Day, which hasn't been ripped off from the BBC, and I'm sure he's going to talk about something other than the Headscape website which we're all sick of.

Marcus Lillington: You know I'm not going to do that, 'cause you've seen the notes. I'm not going to put anything in the notes from now on. I'm going to keep it a surprise.

I said I'll do a Headscape one, one week, although Headscape's not really design. Even I'm getting bored of it, if I'm honest.

Paul Boag: Yeah. We are, too, if that makes any difference.

Marcus Lillington: Well, it's quite a short one, so it'll be all over quickly.

Paul Boag: Right.

Marcus Lillington: And then I'll do alternatives in between. And, actually, while I was on the plane, I decided that I'd try to come up with the topics for this until the end of the season, and I kind of have, sort of.

Paul Boag: But you've only got to come up with five. It's not exactly difficult.

Marcus Lillington: It is.

Paul Boag: I have to come up with stuff every bloody week, two lots!

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, I know. But you've already written it.

Paul Boag: Yeah, but … And I write a blog post every week.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, I know.

Paul Boag: Such an amateur.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah. Yeah. Amateur Marcus, QBA 00:10:55. So, yes.

Information architecture, labeling, that kind of stuff. What I haven't mentioned is that we did have a look at the analytics on the Headscape site before we did the redesign. We didn't have a huge dive-in, because there isn't that much traffic, but we thought we ought to have a look and see what it was telling us. There was sort of three things to consider.

Number one was that people visited home, then case studies, then people, then what we do, in that order. So no surprises at all on that front. So that kind of said, well, you keep it the same as kind of the main sections of the site are concerned. Hardly anyone visited all the myriad of sub-service pages we used to have, so we decided to cut them all out. They're gone.

Paul Boag: That saves a lot of work.

Marcus Lillington: Exactly. We did incorporate some of that content onto the single services page that's there now. And I guess this isn't really relevant to information architecture, but one really interesting thing that came out of the stats was 96% of our users are on desktop, which-

Paul Boag: Wow!

Marcus Lillington: Indeed, wow. I couldn't believe that when I saw it. But then, if you think about somebody who is researching an agency, they're likely to be sitting at their desk, aren't they?

Paul Boag: Yeah, yeah. I guess it does make sense. But, you know, compared to my figure is about 70% … But then, people are reading my content.

Marcus Lillington: Exactly, yeah.

Yeah, so we haven't bothered with mobile at all. No, we have, really.

Paul Boag: Yeah. This responsive stuff is so 2010.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, exactly. Yes. But it was … I guess all it meant was, if there was a kind of complexity relating to mobile … I can't think of one off the top of my head … we would've gone, well, go the simple route.

Paul Boag: You favored desktop.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, exactly.

Paul Boag: Yeah.

Marcus Lillington: So about labeling. In our bid to become more straight talking, which I talked about many, many shows ago, we decided that we should lose the "our" of "Our Team," and the "us" off "Contact Us." Right. This led to a number of one word labels like, Team, Contact, Blog, and Podcast. But the kind of issue label was, What We Do. And I've always liked What We Do. I think it's almost like the perfect descriptive title.

Paul Boag: Yes.

Marcus Lillington: Whereas the one that we ended up going for, Services, kind of isn't. It's okay. But it's not quite as descriptive as, What We Do.

This is the kind of angle for this particular Thought for the Day. In effect, we changed What We Do to Services for brand, or aesthetic reasons, and I'm not sure whether that's okay or not. We've done it. I think it is okay, as long as the alternative is acceptable, which Services is. If we'd changed it to something kind of useless, then that wouldn't be.

Paul Boag: No.

Marcus Lillington: What?

Paul Boag: Yes. I'm sorry. When I said, "No," I was actually agreeing with you. Sorry.

Marcus Lillington: So I guess it's a bit of a judgment call, really. We decided that, yeah, we'll go for the single word.

You can argue the same for Case Studies over Work, 'cause we changed Case Studies for the same reasons, though I think that's less of a … Case Studies and Work kind of mean the same thing.

Paul Boag: See, now, I would disagree with that. I think actually that is a bigger issue than changing What We Do to Services. Now, just for a matter of interest, Paul in the chat room said he did exactly the same, and he says he wished he'd kept What I Do. So while I'm about to argue with you over Work, Paul, tell us why you wish you'd kept What I Do.

Marcus Lillington: Let him write a paragraph in the chat room while we're silent.

Paul Boag: Yeah. No, no, no. That's why I'm going to come back to telling you why you're wrong about … Because surely Work and Services now look like two very similar things. Both could be the work you do.

Marcus Lillington: You could argue that, 'cause I have actually argued for Our Work to mean What We Do for clients in the past, specific clients.

I'll go back to it's a judgment call. And in answer to Paul, we can always change it back if we see … We will keep an eye on the stats.

But what would bother me, and it is an aesthetic thing, is if I was looking at Team, What We Do, Case Studies, Blog, Podcast, Contact, from an aesthetic point of view. It would look wrong to me.

Paul Boag: It's a tricky one, isn't it?

Marcus Lillington: I'm baring my soul here. We went down that road.

Paul Boag: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I appreciate the honesty. It's good.

Chris has asked in the chat room, "Why didn't you just split test it?" And the answer to that, Chris, is that Headscape site just wouldn't get enough traffic. You know? It would've taken months to split test something like that.

Marcus Lillington: There's no reason, though, why we just couldn't let it run for months. We could do that.

Paul Boag: Yeah, I guess so.

Marcus Lillington: Well, we considered it. But … No. First time I've considered it, today.

Paul Boag: You didn't even think of it, did you? What I did like is the fact that you did bother to go into your analytics and have a look at … The fact that you got rid of all those services pages, all that work you saved yourself by taking the time to look at the analytics.

I often think that with, say, some of our more content verbose clients. If they actually looked at their analytics, you know, they could save themselves months, months and months of work by … You know, they go, "Oh, we've got 35,000 pages to bring across to our new site." No, you haven't. You've probably got less than 500, if you actually look at it properly, you know?

Marcus Lillington: Yes. That's the joy of my life for the next three months, Paul, basically doing that for two different clients. I'm doing content audits.

Paul Boag: Oh, no! No, I teach our clients now that want a content audit, I say, "No. Don't start with the content audit. Start with writing a list of questions that people have, and then match what content you've currently got against that list of questions. Everything else can be dumped."

Marcus Lillington: Life doesn't work quite like that, though, does it? But, yeah.

Paul Boag: It does. It does, Marcus. You just need a backbone, man.

Marcus Lillington: I'm far too nice, aren't I? Yeah.

Anyway. That was it. Those are my Thoughts for the Day. That was this week's Thought for the Day. And I ought to talk about doing content audits, shouldn't I at some point? That would be something to say.

Paul Boag: Yeah, that would be a good one.

Marcus Lillington: The pain and misery of doing a content audit.

Paul Boag: Yeah. 'Cause I know … I'm doing work at the moment with Headscape's arch nemesis, actually, with Precedent.

Marcus Lillington: Oh, really?

Paul Boag: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're both working on the same client at the moment. They're just about to undertake a content audit, and you can tell they're as enthusiastic as you would be about it.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, I mean one thing we … Well, I say we. My colleague, Christopher, the clever one, has put together a kind of framework for measuring pages, so it's not just qualitative, so we're looking at a couple of other ways of measuring pages. So I definitely will talk about this later in one of the crosstalk 00:18:33 series-

Paul Boag: Yeah, that'd be interesting. crosstalk 00:18:35

Marcus Lillington: … just kind of whether it's consistent, and the usually meaning of copy. There's some other stuff in there, as well. So I'll talk about that.

Paul Boag: Cool.

Going back to information architecture, we will move on from this in a minute, but going back to information architecture, one tool that Precedent did start, introduced me to, which I'd never come across is a tool called Slick Plan.

Marcus Lillington: Oh, I'm- crosstalk 00:18:59

Paul Boag: It's quite a neat little tool for like creating site maps and planning your content and that kind of stuff. So it's a bit like gather content, but a bit more site mappy orientated. It's definitely worth checking out.

Right. Okay. Let's dive in. Let's talk very quickly about our first sponsor, and then we can get on to our first topic. Well, second topic, if you count Marcus' stuff. No, I thought it was very interesting today. It was a very good takeaways.

Marcus Lillington: I don't like all this being nice to each other lark. It's not right, is it?

Paul Boag: Yeah, we need to stop. I don't know what's going on. Okay. We'll use our Balsamiq sponsor slot to reset things.

Marcus Lillington: I'm having a word with myself.

Paul Boag: Yeah, you do that while I do the Balsamiq.


Okay. So you ought to know by now what Balsamiq is. Either you've heard me talk before on the show or, alternatively, you've probably already used it at some point. It's a great wire framing tool, and it makes it super simple to get up and running when working with clients, to explore those initial ideas, let them have a go, as well, because it's so easy to use. But they're not just interested in selling you wire framing tools. They don't just want to make wire framing easy. They also want to make your wire frames better, so that you actually produce better quality ones when you do them. And so they've got a load of educational material around that that you might want to check out.

So you can go to, and you'll find lots of different material. If you then go /courses, you'll find a couple of courses on exactly this subject, including a course from me, based on the content that we're covering this season. It's a video course that you can watch that really covers quite a lot of the course that I'm trying to flog you for outrageous amounts of money on this season. You can actually get that course free if you become a Balsamiq Cloud user. They're actively trying to help their users to improve the quality of what they're delivering.

If you want to try out Balsamiq Cloud, you can get a 30 day free trial by going to Balsamiq.Cloud, and then also, if after that 30 days you want to carry on using it, if you use the code Boagworld when you sign up, you'll get three months for free, and you'll get access to my course. So if listening to this podcast isn't enough, in terms of hearing my pearls of wisdom, then you can sign up to Balsamiq Cloud and get even more for free.

There you go. So they're completely undermining my business model for this season.

Marcus Lillington: Hey, ho.

Paul Boag: Bastards.

Marcus Lillington: At least they're supporting the show. So-

Paul Boag: Exactly. Well, actually, they did pay me quite a lot of money to produce the course in the first place, so, you know … I guess it belongs to them, really. They're letting me borrow it.

Marcus Lillington: There you go! So stop complaining.

Paul Boag: Well, I like complaining. I'm a middle aged white man. What else have I got to do? crosstalk 00:22:32

Marcus Lillington: It's the last decent day of the year, and you said, "It's too hot," earlier.

Paul Boag: It's too hot. It's too hot. Yeah, exactly. You're getting it now.

Right. Shall we talk about belonging and creating a sense of belonging?

Marcus Lillington: Yeah.

Paul Boag: So this is quite an important area when it comes to building trust, which we talked about last week, didn't we? Building trust? I think we did.

Marcus Lillington: Yes. I don't know.

Paul Boag: Let's go yes. You have no idea, have you?

Marcus Lillington: Hard to believe. Last week was a different universe.

Paul Boag: Yes, exactly. That was pre-America, wasn't it?

Marcus Lillington: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paul Boag: Pre-American football. I can't believe that was the first American football thing you ever went to.

Marcus Lillington: No, no. I've been to one 30 years ago.

Paul Boag: Yeah, I was going to say-

Marcus Lillington: Just-

Paul Boag: I've never been to one.

Marcus Lillington: It was great fun, but it was just the enormity of the stadium blew my mind.

Paul Boag: Right. Anyway. What were we talking about? Oh, yes. A sense of belonging.

The reason creating a sense of belonging … Well, there's all kinds of benefits to creating a sense of belonging, in terms of encouraging conversion, encouraging action, and we'll get into the benefits in a little bit. But let's take a step back and say, first of all, we are very social creatures, right? Well, most of us are.

Marcus Lillington: I am.

Paul Boag: I am, personally, anti-social. Most people are social.

And actually, if you go back far enough, we lived in tribes, and that was the way we defined ourselves was by our tribe. There was us and there was them, you know? And that's how we survived was by ganging together into tribes. So it's kind of very built in to our character.

Of course, today things are a little bit different. Our sense of self and our sense of belonging is defined by lots of different characteristics. Now, they do include some of those tribe-like things, like family members and that kind of stuff, but also increasingly we define our sense of self and the tribe we belong to by the things that we buy.

So, for example, if I talked about someone who wore Nike, you would have a certain mental image of the kind of person that is. Or, let's pick a more provocative one. If I said BMW drivers, you would have a certain image of the kind of person that we're talking about there. Now, depending on your personality and your characteristic, that would either be a negative view or a positive view. You know? If I said somebody reads the Washington Post or the Guardian, that would have a certain, there would be a certain mental image those things conjure up.

Marcus Lillington: Or like the Daily Mail or the Enquirer, say.

Paul Boag: Yes, exactly. So what we read, what we buy, all of those things kind of help define our sense of identity and the tribe we belong to. Clothes we wear, as well, would be another great option. The fact that Marcus has all his guitars in the background, he's saying something about who he is and the type of person he is. So the products we buy do influence us-

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, okay. I'm not sure about that.

Paul Boag: … and how we present ourselves.

Marcus Lillington: It's like a good place to put them. crosstalk 00:25:54

Paul Boag: Yeah, no. No. Don't give me- crosstalk 00:25:55

Marcus Lillington: It is purely chance that they are on camera.

Paul Boag: No, bollocks. Bollocks.

Marcus Lillington: No, no, really, really.

Paul Boag: Absolute bollocks, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington: There's nowhere else to put them.

Paul Boag: Even if it was on a subconscious level, the fact that they sit directly behind your webcam is not a coincidence.

Marcus Lillington: It's a happy accident.

Paul Boag: Bollocks. Bollocks. I don't believe you. Right. Anyway. Don't undermine my point.

So this is something that advertisers have known about for years and have leveraged for years. So probably the most blatant example I can think of is Apple. That just kind of, they've gone in for this approach heavily. The most obvious is the Mac versus PC ads. Right? That is totally a tribal Us versus Them, right?

Marcus Lillington: Just to interrupt you, Paul, but I think the most blatant user of this would be Donald Trump. He-

Paul Boag: Yes.

Marcus Lillington: He pulls so hard on the tribal strings, and he's got where he is today by doing that. It's nasty. But anyway. Sorry. That was a bit of a tangent.

Paul Boag: Political. Whoo!

Marcus Lillington: Political. You can't get more tribal than that, can you?

Paul Boag: Yeah, exactly. Well, possibly religion, kind of tribes there as well- crosstalk 00:27:14

Marcus Lillington: Yes, yes.

Paul Boag: … if we're going to go down that road.

Marcus Lillington: Let's not go there.

Paul Boag: Yeah, exactly.

So Apple, Mac versus PC. But also, they're defining the characteristics of their tribe, right? So the Think Different campaign, they very much position themselves as creative. People that are in this tribe are creative people. They're people that think different. Okay? So-

Marcus Lillington: We're roll necks and little narrow glasses, things like that.

Paul Boag: Yes, absolutely. You mean like this.

Marcus Lillington: Oh, yes. Look, there's one.

Paul Boag: Exactly. There's one. It just appeared on the webcam. I have to take the glasses off now because reading up close is … yeah, it ruins the whole look.

So, why? Why does this kind of technique work? Well, tribes are aspirational. We have this kind of inherent desire to join a tribe, all right? And so if we want to be more creative, and we want to be considered and seen by others to be creative, then we're drawn to tribes that have that characteristic, so for example, Apple. Okay?

So you can see from a sales point of view how that's immediately quite powerful, right? If your product or your service, or the way that you present it online has that kind of aspirational quality to it, it's going to draw you.

But also, tribes can be really useful in order to increase customer satisfaction, as well. And that's because when you start connecting tribe members, right? So as they meet and interact with one another, they reinforce one another. Right? So if I bought, I don't know, a new phone and everybody else was going, "Oh, why did you buy that phone? That's a terrible phone. You should never have bought that phone," then you're going to get buyer's remorse. You're going to regret your decision. However, if you're then connected with all of the other people that bought the same phone as you, and they're all going, "Yeah, I bought that phone. It's a great phone," then it reinforces you, right? So you feel better about the phone that you've bought.

On top of which, once you've got reinforced like that, and once you're kind of feeling positive about your purchase, you're more likely to evangelize about it. You're more likely to go and tell the world how great your phone is, right? And, of course, that again is very much what Apple did at its heyday when it was very good at this kind of stuff. It's not so good now. But it would do exactly that, wouldn't it? You'd get Apple fanboys, and if you said anything negative about Apple, like Louis has just done in the chat room, it would have been at one stage all the Apple fanboys would've jumped all over you. That is tribal behavior. Right?

Marcus Lillington: Yes.

Paul Boag: Okay. So it's something that we want to encourage. We want to connect our customers so they feel happier, so they're more likely to refer us, so that you're feeding that aspirational desire.

How do you do that? How do you create a shared identity? There are, in my opinion, three … Well, there's two approaches, really. The first one is to identify something that people want to aspire to, all right? So in my case, if you look at the people that listen to this podcast or those that are in the slack channel, those kinds of people, they're all aspiring to be better at their craft, to provide a better user experience, a better digital experience. That's their aspiration, right?

With Apple, it's to be more creative. With whoever manufactures your guitars, it's to be more pretentious. We've all got our thing-

Marcus Lillington: You're just jealous, Paul. You've got guitar jealousy.

Paul Boag: … that we want to aspire to.

Marcus Lillington: That's all it is.

Paul Boag: Have I? Is that what it is?

Marcus Lillington: Yeah.

Paul Boag: Well, no. We agreed we were going to slag each other off after the sponsor thing. I'm just following through. Right. So.

Yes, you can identify a thing. But obviously that thing has to be appropriate to the brand, right? So you might decide that your thing is to create a better society, and to be more caring. That's the kind of people you want to attract, the people that want to be seen as caring and improving society. But you can't then be an oil company. That isn't going to work.

Marcus Lillington: I don't know. They do try.

Paul Boag: They do try-

Marcus Lillington: They really do.

Paul Boag: … but they don't pull it off very well. I know. crosstalk 00:32:43

Marcus Lillington: See the great work, the great environmental work we're doing, 'cause they obviously have to. And then they talk about that at length, yes.

Paul Boag: But it's a much, much harder sell, you know?

Marcus Lillington: Oh, yes.

Paul Boag: So what do you do? And it's easy to talk like this if you're Apple, if you've got a brand that lends itself to that. But what do you do if you're somebody that hasn't got that kind of obvious thing to build around? There is no aspirational quality to what you do. For example, I don't know, you sell juice drinks. Okay? Well, that is a real example, because there is a company in the U.K. called Innocent Smoothies that managed to build a very vibrant tribe around the selling of juice drinks. The way that they did that is by attaching it to a good cause. Okay? So their good cause was age concern. Okay? So especially in the winter, people have trouble heating their home, so the number of deaths go up in the U.K. They wanted to support this cause.

Now, that's nothing unusual. Right? Lots of companies give charitable giving. But what Innocent Smoothie did is they built a tribe around that, and the way that they built a tribe around that was they didn't just give money to charity, but they actively involved their audience in the creation of the value that gave money to charity. The way they did that is by saying, "For every one of our juice drinks that has a wooly hat on it," a knitted wooly hat-

Marcus Lillington: Yes, I remember them.

Paul Boag: "… we will give 50 pence to charity."

Marcus Lillington: Yeah.

Paul Boag: All right? So what's so genius about that … They could have said, "For every bottle we sell, we're going to give 50 pence to charity." But they actively engaged their audience in making that happen by saying they have to knit the wooly hats. Also, of course, having a wooly hat on a bottle of juice makes it stand out on the shelf, so it sells more. Right? So everybody wins. Okay?

So they were actively engaging with their audience, which is a really important thing to do. If you're trying to create a loyal fan base, you need to actively engage with them. And that's why I put up with talking to these annoying people that come into my slack channel. I turn up for the live podcast. I mean, obviously, I'm repulsed by them on a personal level, but you endure talking to them because you know that engaging is a great thing to do. Oh, I made Louis cry.

Marcus Lillington: You're just going through the motions, been doing it for years. Paul, you're such an excellent actor.

Paul Boag: Of all the people … Obviously, it's crosstalk 00:35:58 after. I was going to say, of all the people I know that's least likely to be offended by me being rude to him, I think it's probably Louis.

So, yes. So you're engaging with people. You're including them. But they didn't stop there. The other thing that they started doing was connecting those people to one another. Do you remember how important I said that was? So they facilitated ways for people to share knitting patterns, right?

There are a few things to take away from this. One is you've got to get your tribe connected to one another, as I just said. The second thing Innocent did is they celebrated their tribe. So people that were prolific knitters, or were knitting original stuff, they featured them on the website. Right?

I've just celebrated Louis in a micro way. He was mentioned on the podcast. I talked about him. I included him. I made him feel valuable. Again, I'm manipulating him.

Marcus Lillington: Total acting, as always, but, yeah. You do it really well, Paul.

Paul Boag: Yeah.

Marcus Lillington: He flipped me off.

Paul Boag: So that is how you show that you appreciate your audience. And then you prioritize them, as well. So you give them something extra. They get something that other people don't get. So I will give exclusive discounts to people in the slack channel. I make sure that they're the first to know about certain things that I'm doing. And I try to give them advice that's personalized to them, when I've got the time. It's that kind of thing, as well.

But the last bit that, again, Innocent did very well, is they relinquished control. A lot of people that do this kind of thing, they want to control their tribe. They want to control the message. They want to control what's being said. "Oh, maybe they'll say something I don't like. Maybe it'll go in a direction I don't like." With Innocent Smoothies, a lot of the time they were responding to what their tribe were doing. So, for example, they were sharing knitting patterns before Innocent started facilitating that. You know? They were starting to use hashtags on social media before Innocent was, and they just facilitated it, emphasized that. You know?

Again, I could give an example from my own group. Paul this morning posted a thing in the slack channel that I thought, "Oh, that's really good," so I re-posted it to everybody, so that everybody saw it about the fact that today's Mental Health Awareness Day. Right?

All of those things kind of help to build your tribe, and how people interact with one another. It can be so, so valuable, in terms of these people will go out, they will evangelize you. You will win work through it. It has a huge benefit.

I'm working with a client at the moment, a company called, and I won that work because one of the people in the company listened to this podcast, was a part of the slack community, and was actively engaged. So it's a very powerful tool, and not particularly well used, in my opinion. Right.

Marcus Lillington: I guess it takes a certain amount of effort, quite a lot of effort, from you in the first place.

Paul Boag: Yeah.

Marcus Lillington: That's the thing that I guess it would be hard for somebody who's not that senior within, I don't know, a marketing department, to get the backing, budget, whatever, to kick something like that off. And, also, potentially … If you don't get the tone quite right, it could just fall flat on its face. So, yeah. People are frightened of it, maybe.

Paul Boag: Yes, it can. It doesn't … It has some advantages, 'cause you just painted it very crosstalk 00:39:56 there. It is hard to get moving, right? It's hard to get the momentum going, so it's like pushing a giant boulder. To start with, it's incredibly hard work. But once it gets momentum, then you have to do very little, right? Because other people within the tribe, you just need to facilitate them. And they're doing things that are … The slack channel is a great example of that. I do very little there, but there's always conversation going. There's always people welcoming other people, and that kind of thing.

Marcus Lillington: Can you remember way back in the mists of time, when we used to work for the U.K.'s largest heritage organization, and-

Paul Boag: Yes. You mean the national tribe?

Marcus Lillington: They basically said, "We'd like you to implement a forum. We want people to connect to people." And we're like, "Yeah, okay. But obviously you're going to need to do X, Y, and Zed to make it happen." And they're like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah." And nobody did, and it was like a … Nobody crosstalk 00:40:59. Nothing at all.

Paul Boag: And the other thing that seems ridiculous today that they did, going back to the relinquishing control, is they pre-approved every post before it went on their website, because they were so terrified of people saying something that was libelous or wrong or whatever else. So, yeah. There is an art to it.

But the advantage of it, beyond the fact that once you've got momentum, it kind of is self-sustaining and has this huge kind of ripple effect and encourages word of mouth recommendation, all those kinds of things. The advantage in the short-term, at the very beginning, is it doesn't take money. It just takes effort. Right? And, actually, if you start in a very focused way, it doesn't even take that much effort. You know?

So what, for example, Innocent Smoothies did was a very small organic thing that kind of grew and snowballed. What I do doesn't take a huge amount of effort, 'cause I'm just one guy who needs to earn my own living at the same time. So, you know, it's not as big an effort as maybe you think it is, but it's being focused in what you're doing.


Anyway. Let's talk about our second sponsor, which is Fullstory. I was pleased to discover that one of my clients, in fact the BrickHunter client I was talking about just a minute ago, have been indoctrinated enough by me in this podcast to sign up for Fullstory. And it's a great use of it. I've been able to watch people go around the site. In fact, Matt, who's the primary point of contact that I have there and how I came to work with them to begin with, said, "Oh, yeah, Paul. I was watching you navigate 'round the site yesterday." And I was like, "What? How'd you know?" And he said, "Oh, we run Fullstory." But I was still confused, because it's anonymized, right? And I said, "How'd you know that?"

"Oh, 'cause you used the site to fill in a form," on the site, where I put my name. Now, make it clear, Fullstory doesn't expose all of the kind of passwords and that kind of stuff, but when you start filling in a basic form, which was entering my name, it could pick up on that which was great, and he could see what I did and how far I went through the process and where I abandoned it. Now, that is incredibly powerful. Yes, there are GDPR considerations-

Marcus Lillington: That's what I was just about to say.

Paul Boag: Yeah. Yes, you need to make decisions about how you want to configure it, but that's entirely up to you. You've got full control over that, right? It is incredibly useful to be able to watch back anonymized sessions, 'cause that was a very rare example of the fact that I filled in a form, et cetera. As Louis just said, you need to be careful about whether you integrate it with custom fields, and it takes some sensible behavior, and they provide a lot of great advice on that kind of thing. But it can be really valuable in knowing where people are dipping out sites, why they're dipping out sites, 'cause you can actually see what they're doing, et cetera. So it's a really useful tool, and great for tracking down the culprit of poor conversion rate.

Now, analytics can help you do that if you've got the right event trackers set up, but Fullstory tracks every dome element, so you can narrow things down very quickly, even if you're not tracking necessarily the right things like in Google Analytics. And then you can watch exactly what's going wrong, 'cause you can watch those recorded sessions played back to you in real time.

You can sign up today and get a free month of their Pro account absolutely free, no need to enter a credit card, and you can continue to use it for free for up to 1,000 sessions per month after the free month of the Pro account. I feel like I said free too many times in that sentence. To do all of that, go to

Okay. Right. Let's talk about picking your moment.

Marcus Lillington: As soon as somebody's arrived at the site, isn't it? That's-

Paul Boag: Yeah. Hit them straight away. crosstalk 00:45:27

Marcus Lillington: It's all out front crosstalk 00:45:27 now, big overlay.

Paul Boag: I could give you such a great example of that. We're speaking at some conference or other, and we'd all agreed to have like, amongst the speakers, to have the geekiest T-shirt competition, where we'd all wear a T-shirt that was some geeky T-shirt. So I had to come up with some blooming geeky T-shirt to wear, and I was asking around. Somebody recommended a website to go get this geeky T-shirt. crosstalk 00:45:56

Marcus Lillington: Designers, making everything line up or something like that, that's the kind of thing.

Paul Boag: Yeah. Or, you know, what was it? #000 is the new black. You know? That kind of thing, yeah.

So anyway, I went along to this website. Now the first thing that happened when I arrived on this website, pop up overlay, just like you described, saying sign up for our newsletter in order to get 10% off your first purchase.

Now, setting aside that they effectively had to bribe me to get me to sign up to their newsletter, so it obviously has no value whatsoever in its own right, the other big problem with it was the fact that I hadn't seen any T-shirts, so I didn't know whether I wanted 10% off or not at this stage. So, what did I do? I closed the window. Right? Looked 'round the site, found a T-shirt that I really liked. I want my 10% off. Where's the link? How do I get it back? And it's gone.

Marcus Lillington: Forever.

Paul Boag: Right? Forever. So now, this T-shirt looks 10% more expensive to me. It looks overpriced, because I've been primed to think of it as 10% cheaper from this overlay. So I left the site. I never bought from it. Right? And it's like … That's where things go wrong if you don't pick your moment.

Marcus Lillington: Indeed.

Paul Boag: And also, different calls to action are often just applicable at different moments in the user journey. So, for example, a newsletter sign up is not the great thing when you first arrive on the site. Or, should we really be encouraging people to use social media buttons and share stuff if they're in the middle of an e-commerce transaction, as is currently what is happening on another website that I'm working on at the moment. You get to the shopping basket, and it asks you to share the shopping basket with friends on social media. I mean, no! No! That is not the time, you know?

Marcus Lillington: One example of that that we've come across more than once, 'cause we've both had quite a few different charity clients, and they rightly ask people for more. They'll have a kind of like, "You've agreed to donate X or whatever, but for this particular campaign, could you give us a bit more?" And they come at the wrong time. It's really hard to get people to say, get the donation and then let's talk about extras, rather than breaking up the process and you could piss people off, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It's quite an obscure one, that one, but it does happen.

Paul Boag: Totally same principle, mind. You know? It's understanding the user's mindset at a particular time to know when they're going to be most susceptible to be asked to do that thing.

So, for example, if you want someone to share a purchase, you ask them at the end of the purchase process, where they've finished. It's that thing of people come to your website with a certain action in mind, right? You've got to let them do what they want to do first, and then ask them to do something else, because otherwise it's just an uphill battle the whole time.

Cookies can be invaluable in helping you do this: picking the right time to do the right thing. So how many times somebody has visited the site. So if they're on a return visit, then much better time to ask them to sign up for a newsletter, for example. Right? You can see which pages they've viewed, if they viewed a certain page, then you might want to recommend a certain product because of that page that they viewed. You might even want to consider how long they've spent on a page, right? Because it might be a sign that they're having doubts about what they're doing, or whether it's the way.

So, for example, Live Chat is a great example of that. When you arrive on a page, it immediately pops up with a Live Chat window. Well, I haven't read anything yet-

Marcus Lillington: That burns me up.

Paul Boag: … so wait a few seconds at least for me to have a look around the page before you start asking me if I need help.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah. My phone provider does that. I'm on A&E 00:50:31 and it's every time. It's like, "No, I don't need any help. Go away!"

Paul Boag: Yeah.

Marcus Lillington: Anyway.

Paul Boag: Exactly. And you shouldn't be doing it every time, as well, because you should be setting a cookie that says, well, they didn't want it last time, so certainly don't ask them for it again, but give them an option to click on it if they need it.

Marcus Lillington: Yep.

Paul Boag: You know?

Marcus Lillington: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paul Boag: You could use cookies to identify whether someone's completed another call to action, because if they've already signed up for the newsletter, you don't want to offer that to them again when they return to the site, but you might want to offer them something else, right? Donations on charity websites are great examples of this. If you know that somebody has already given a single donation on a previous visit, and they come back to the site again, you want to be upselling them to a regular donation, right? You don't want to just ask them for another single one.

There's a hierarchy. You want to prioritize those calls to action, as well. So a charity website is a great example of this, you know? At the bottom you probably, "Share this cause on social media," might be at the bottom. Then it might be, "Give a single donation." And then it might be, "Give a monthly donation." Then it might be, "Do a fundraising event or volunteer for us." And then it might be, "Leave a legacy." You know? There's a kind of hierarchy to these things that we need to consider.

Obviously, if somebody has already provided some personal data, like they've logged in, then we need to take those kinds of things into account. But with cookies, we do need to be aware, as well, we need to be aware that they get cleared. People clear their cookies. And also we need to be careful what we're storing on people. But there is so much more that you could do.

So, for example, if you go to my Boagworld/MasterClass, I had a problem. Obviously not everybody that goes to that site is going to be ready to buy my course straightaway, right? But I don't want to lose them, because if I lose them, then that means that they might forget to come back or whatever, so we need to make some connection. So I thought, "Well, let's offer them a short email course." So you sign up for a short email course, you get a bit of advice spread over four weeks, and that's going to remind them to get, "Oh, perhaps I want the full course."

So I went to put that onto the page, and then I was thinking, well, hang on a minute. I'm giving somebody that might be considering parting with money here and now, I'm giving them, "Oh, well, I won't part with it. I'll do the course first. I'll do the email sign-up thing first." And I didn't want to do that, right? I would be picking the wrong moment. So what I did is if you notice, you'll only see that pop-up, and it is a pop-up. I don't use them lightly, but there are occasions. You'll see that when you go to leave the page, on an exit intent. Okay?

Marcus Lillington: That's what Chris is talking about in the chat window now.

Paul Boag: Oh, is it?

Marcus Lillington: crosstalk 00:53:38 around the twist.

Paul Boag: Yeah. What the exit-

Marcus Lillington: "I feel manipulated."

Paul Boag: I've lost you anyway. Yeah. But I've lost you anyway at that point.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, but I might be going for reasons that … I might be coming back. And it might annoy me, see?

Paul Boag: It might do. Yes. And that is a trade-off you need to make, and you need to make a decision about whether or not that is good thing to do or not. Some people would hate them. Some people would love them. But what is definitely true, is that an exit intent pop-up is a lot more unobtrusive than one when you're just navigating the page.

Marcus Lillington: True. Yes.

Paul Boag: All right? So it's drawing the line, and making a decision on that. So, for example, I have certain key pages like, for example, I come up number one on customer journey mapping on Google. So I have a large number of people that hit that. They don't know anything about me. They're just there for the content, right? So those people I hit with an exit intent pop-up, as well, and I use that then, because it's a chance to grab people that I will never see again. They won't come back, you know? So I grab them for a newsletter sign up, and that converts actually pretty well.

There's a great too, by the way, called that I use to do all of this kind of stuff. It's really, really good. But anyway. That's beside the point.

Marcus Lillington: Okay.

Paul Boag: But we can do things other than with cookies. We could obviously look at what people are reading and adjust accordingly. We can look at the referral source, where they've come from. So, for example, as I did with that customer journey mapping thing where I know that people are coming from Google, so I've got one opportunity to grab them, so I would do a pop-up overlay there where I wouldn't in other situations for exactly the reasons that you said, Marcus, that they can be annoying. Right?

You can even factor in things like date and time. I've seen some great examples of this where you hit a landing page and it'll say, "Good evening," to you. You know? And what they're doing is, well, they've gone a bit further. Because they sell a product that is exclusively aimed at business people, they know, well, it's the evening, 'cause they can detect the time zone that someone's in. It knows that it's their evening. Hang on a minute, this is a work product. That means they're having to work on evenings, right? So now let's make our call to action saying, "Hey, sign up for this, and maybe you won't need to work in the evenings!" That's actually really clever, right?

Another one I've seen is a company that actually closes their website on Black Friday, because they get a lot of publicity from doing that, and they're an outdoors company. So they say, "Don't spend Black Friday buying crap. Go and enjoy the great outdoors." Right? We can tailor our calls to action based on time and date, as well. We can even tailor them based on device. So if someone's on a mobile device, and your call to action requires them to fill in a bloody long form, say to them, "Would you prefer me to email this to you, so you can fill this in on your computer another time?"

Marcus Lillington: Yeah. Helpful.

Paul Boag: And then, also, of course, you can track previous calls to action. I said that earlier, didn't I?

I've actually written an article on this, if you're interested. If you go to, then all of this is outlined for you. So hopefully that's useful.

That's really all I wanted to say this week, but hopefully there's some stuff in there that will help and inspire you. And, obviously, even if there wasn't, we have Marcus' bit in the beginning, so you're all good.

Marcus Lillington: And at the end.

Paul Boag: Marcus … And at the end, 'cause we now have a joke. What is your joke?

Marcus Lillington: Well, I have to thank Mr. Paul Edwards for much gold that he's put into the Boagworld's slack channel bad jokes channel. I'm going to start with this one.

Police in Amsterdam have arrested a man for killing his father with a wooden shoe. Basically, he clogged his Pops.

I do wonder about that one being-

Paul Boag: Yeah, whether it's international.

Marcus Lillington: Popped his clogs.

Paul Boag: Do other countries talk about pop your clogs as a way of dying?

Marcus Lillington: Well, there you go.

Paul Boag: Dunno. That's interesting. I have no idea about that cultural.

Marcus Lillington: Thank you, Paul.

Paul Boag: Yeah, thanks very much. Okay, that about wraps us up for this week's show. Just to say, I've already pitched Master Class inaudible 00:58:41

Next week, we're going to talk about designing and writing compelling calls to action, so join us again for that next week. But 'til then, thanks for watching. Watching? Listening, whatever you're doing. You might be doing both. Goodbye.


Thanks to sirtravelalot from Shutterstock for allowing me to use this image.