3 Ways Runners Athletics Gets More Conversions Through Strong Brand Values
There are countless articles out there about “best practices for increasing conversions.” But if you’re following one rigid checklist, you’re going to miss out on a lot of conversion opportunities.
Well, customers rarely convert after a single interaction with a brand. In fact, some studies estimate that it can take 13 or more interactions before a customer is ready to make a purchase.
That means all your conversion strategies need to work together to create a consistent experience for your audience.
In this post, we break down how Runners Athletics is doing exactly this.
We’ll cover how the company positions itself in its niche. Then, we go into three specific conversion strategies used and how the brand messaging stays consistent across all of them.
To get started, let’s introduce you to Runners Athletics.
Runners Athletics: The background
Runners Athletics is an up-and-coming ecommerce business that sells running sunglasses. It’s geared toward young, active people looking for affordable eyewear to use while running or working out.
This is a bit of a niche market. But, Runners Athletics understands how to make this an advantage.
Over and over again, we’ll see Runners Athletics claim that its sunglasses are functional, fashionable, and affordable.
It’s not always in those exact words, of course, but Runners Athletics is wonderfully consistent at marketing these values to their audience. Every single conversion strategy on the website highlights one of these three qualities.
And marketing those values leads to more conversions. In fact, 71% of consumers say that brand values are a deal breaker or deciding factor in their purchases.
So as we analyze Runners Athletics and dive deep into its conversion strategy, we’re going to pay special attention to how they market these unique brand values.
You’ll want to remember these brand values, so here they are again:
Because Runners Athletics is in the “growth” stage of the product lifecycle, its marketing and conversion tactics are rapidly increasing. Combine this with a hyper-focus on one product and one niche, and we’ve got a perfect case study on simple, straightforward conversion rate optimization.
(Don’t worry, though—we’ve got some examples from more complex conversion strategies, too.)
3 ways Runners Athletics increases conversions with brand values
Runners Athletics employs dozens of conversion tactics on its site, but today we’re just going to look at three:
- Lead capture;
- website content; and
- social proof.
These might seem like obvious conversion strategies. You might already be using them on your own site.
But trust us—it’s well worth taking a closer look at how Runners Athletics infuses its core brand values into even the most basic conversion tactics.
1. Interactive lead capture
As soon as a visitor lands on the Runners Athletics home page, they’re greeted with a popup asking for their name and email.
While a lot of visitors might normally click away from such a thing, Runners Athletics makes the popup enticing in two ways:
- It features a “prize wheel” that is immediately more eye-catching than a simple email capture
- All of the prize options are coupon codes, ranging from 10%-25%, that the visitor can immediately apply to their purchase
So, in this case, I won a 10% off coupon:
And since I clicked “Close and Use Coupon,” my shopping cart automatically calculated the discount when I added this snazzy pair of Gladiator Blues to my order:
How does a prize wheel convey that a brand is functional or fashionable?
Great question. It all comes down to understanding the target market—in the case of Runners Athletics, that’s young, active people—and what they expect from the brands they interact with.
Young people want to buy from digitally savvy brands that create a smooth shopping experience. Websites need to load quickly, the checkout process needs to be easy and streamlined, and so on.
So when a 22-year-old runner from sunny San Diego lands on the Runners Athletics home page, here’s what they might understand about the brand based on the lead capture alone:
- Runners Athletics is functional because it’s easy to fill out the email form (or escape it quickly), and it automatically applies my coupons
- Runners Athletics is fashionable because it has something exciting and interactive when they ask for my email, instead of a boring newsletter signup
- Runners Athletics is affordable because they are offering me a coupon right away
From the very first moment a visitor is on the Runners Athletics home page, they are being hit with brand messaging that starts to push them toward converting.
Ideally, the coupon offer is enough to push visitors to convert in a single session. But since you’ll likely need more than one touchpoint, the email capture moves visitors to the next phase of the sales journey.
These leads are now on the marketing team’s radar as prime prospects for drip email campaigns, targeted social media ads, and more.
Knowing exactly where your prospective customers are in the sales cycle is key to an effective conversion strategy. It impacts what kind of content you’ll send to push them closer to conversion.
For a brand like Runners Athletics, the lead nurturing phase will be relatively straightforward: an email campaign with additional deals and some customer reviews, and visitors will have virtually everything they need to make a decision.
But other brands, especially in the B2B space, might have more complex customer journeys. That means they need to be more aware of what their leads need at any given stage, and they’ll likely need to offer leads more options for learning more about the product.
In this example from Nlyte, a DCIM software company, visitors and leads are given three different options to learn more about the product, labeled as 1, 2, and 3 in this screenshot:
Each option addresses the needs of leads at slightly different stages of the sales cycle:
- Leads can schedule a demo to see the software in action if they’re almost ready to buy, or if they’d prefer to have someone walk them through the benefits rather than reading about it on their own
- The video on choosing a DCIM vendor helps leads figure out what criteria they need to assess to make their decision
- Sales copy allows leads to continue doing their own research on the most important features
What’s most important:
Regardless of customer journey or the type of lead capture you’re using, make sure to remain consistent in your brand messaging. That means every single marketing email, lead magnet, and line of copy needs to support your values.
2. Website content
We know, we know—web copy is the most obvious conversion tactic out there.
But what’s not always obvious is how to focus every word in every line of web copy on getting those conversions.
And, of course, Runners Athletics can show us exactly how to address customer pain points throughout the website.
Home page copy
Let’s start with the home page copy. This is where we first learned the Runners Athletics brand values: functional, fashionable, and affordable.
Underneath, there’s a sentence that perfectly reiterates the brand values without repeating a single word. In this screenshot, I’ve highlighted the similarities with color-coded underlining:
- “Running sunglasses” highlights the functionality. This is what the Runners Athletics product can do for its customers.
- “That look great” reiterates how fashionable they are
- “At prices that won’t make you run” is the affordability highlight, and it gets bonus points for being a good play on the word “run”
Then, in easy-to-read formatting, Runners Athletics shows the sunglasses features that make them stand out.
- Sweat resistant
These are all things that consumers might want to know as they make their decision, and Runners Athletics is smart to cater directly to the 60% of consumers that do research before making a purchase.
So before a visitor even scrolls down the Runners Athletics home page, the functional-fashionable-affordable message has already been emphasized three times.
That’s a pretty good start to a conversion strategy.
Now, you don’t have to create parallel lines of copy like Runners Athletics did. There are other ways to subtly repeat your brand values, too.
Take a look at this website copy example from Frevvo, a workflow automation software. In red, I’ve underlined the words or phrases that highlight Frevvo’s brand value of simplicity:
Together, the Runners Athletics and Frevvo examples show us how it's possible to repeat your brand values endlessly—without repeating words or phrases.
That’s how you drive home your value proposition and close those sales.
Product page copy
We could go through every line of copy on the Runners Athletics website and analyze exactly how it drives conversions by speaking directly to the target audience. But instead, we’ll just show you one more example from some product page copy.
Take a look at these five lines of content from a product page. Notice how the three core brand values are highlighted over and over again:
Product page copy is often filled with dry facts about the item: colors, dimensions, etc. But just sticking to the facts doesn’t boost your conversions. You need to make the emotional appeal, too.
That’s what the Runners Athletics product copy does so well.
It could say the sunglasses are functional because of the polarized lenses or spring hinges and leave it at that. But it goes further, painting a picture of being at a sunny outdoor brunch with friends where you look cool because you bought this particular pair of sunglasses.
We really can’t overstate the importance of highlighting your brand values in every line of copy. Even your About page should ooze your brand values from every line.
It might take some time and testing to land on that exact combination of website copy that makes your conversion rate skyrocket, but it’s well worth the effort to pursue it.
Where Runners Athletics is missing out: Video content
Before we move into our last conversion tactic, there’s one kind of website content that we have to mention: video.
84% of people say video content has convinced them to buy a product. Plus, consumers are twice as likely to share video than any other type of content—even a social media post.
So video is one area where Runners Athletics could be missing out, and might be well worth looking at as a new conversion tactic.
Take this example from EarlyBird, an app that helps people invest in children close to them. While there’s a literal financial investment, EarlyBird also encourages people to leave video messages as a way of creating memories for the kids they love:
Check out the video by scrolling down EarlyBird's home page here.
That means video content is the perfect conversion tool for an app like EarlyBird. It:
- Leverages consumers’ preference for video over text
- Demonstrates how the EarlyBird product works
- Makes an emotional appeal to the brand values
- Provides some social proof by using videos from real customers
Another way to use videos to increase your conversion rate is to showcase testimonials from previous customers.
Legacy Healing is showing us the way on how to do this.
Here, in a specific niche, they use videos to convince that their centers are the best ones. Not according to them, but according to those who actually went there:
Runners Athletics could definitely start applying user-generated video content to its website, like in the two examples above.
3. Social proof
Both Earlybird and Legacy Healing gave us a little sneak peek into the next conversion strategy we’ll cover: social proof.
Social proof is why 79% of consumers say they trust an online review as much as a recommendation from friends or family. It eases customers’ minds by showing them other people have already made this same decision.
Customer reviews are one of the easiest ways to add social proof to your site, and Runners Athletics knows and leverages this.
Every single product page has plenty of customer reviews with a star rating and picture of the customer wearing that specific style of sunglasses:
The pictures are the brilliant part of the Runners Athletics strategy, because they give real, tangible proof that their sunglasses are fashionable.
Functional and affordable are attributes that are easy to prove: you can list out the specs to show your fancy product features, and the price tag speaks for itself.
Fashionable is harder—but the picture reviews do the trick.
Scrolling through these images looks a little more like a dating app than an ecommerce website, and that’s a good thing: it speaks to the young, active, attractive demographic that Runners Athletics is marketing to.
But what about social proof when you’re not trying to show how fashionable you are?
For that, let’s take a look at an example in a much older demographic: the GetSafe medical alert system.
On this home page, customer reviews are displayed in a scrolling carousel. There are lots of reviews listed here that scroll by slowly, so it’s a little easier for less tech-savvy visitors to follow along:
The headline tells visitors that this is social proof, and the “Get Started” button gives them an easy way to move to the next step. It’s a slower, less flashy social proof approach than what we saw on Runners Athletics, but it’s perfect for GetSafe’s older target market.
4 key takeaways from Runners Athletics’ conversion strategy
By now, you should have a deeper understanding of why the Runners Athletics conversion strategy works for them. We did a deep dive into lead captures and nurturing, website content, and social proof, all the while looking at how the brand values shine through every conversion tactic.
But let’s circle back and take a look at the key principles underneath the Runners Athletics conversion strategy. These are the main takeaways to keep in mind and apply to your own conversion rate optimization initiatives.
1. Be consistent and bold in your brand values
Your brand values are what make you unique. They add the emotional appeal that closes more sales.
Runners Athletics doesn’t just sell functional, affordable running sunglasses—they sell the possibility of being fashionable too. That’s what boosts conversions.
2. Know your niche and cater directly to them
Conversion strategies need to be as personalized as possible, and knowing your niche is the first huge step toward that. Your niche will inform basic demographics like age, gender, and income, but will also help you decide on the types of content you’ll use and what brand values you should highlight.
Runners Athletics knows that its niche market is
- Cares about being fashionable
- Doesn’t have a ton of money to drop on designer sunglasses
No other sunglasses aficionado matters to them, so every part of the website can be perfectly designed for this audience.
3. Understand your customer journey
Customizing your conversion strategy to the sales cycle stage is far more effective than picking a tactic and hoping for the best. You need to understand the process and craft each phase to align with your brand values perfectly.
This knowledge of the customer journey is why Runners Athletics doesn’t just have a coupon prize wheel popup—they capture emails too, so they can follow customers through every stage.
4. Repeat without being repetitive
Customers need to hear your brand proposition over and over again, but you can’t just copy and paste your website content. Find ways to convey the same message with different words, mediums, and tactics to drive conversions at every turn.
On the surface, this conversion rate stuff is easy:
- Add some calls-to-action
- Provide social proof
- Give your visitors an emotional appeal
But Runners Athletics shows us that a conversion strategy needs to be so much more than that.
A good conversion strategy is infused into every single piece of a website. It’s in the design and function. It’s in the website copy. It’s in the choice to use video or written content.
Runners Athletics showed us how to showcase brand values in all of these areas and more. And it’s that value-driven marketing that increases conversions across the board.
Kevin is a content specialist at Wordable, a tool that helps you export Google Docs to WordPress, formatting and all.