You have a landing page (even if you don’t know it as such). Some of you will have eleven or more. It’s that page that people “land” on when they find you on Google or click one of your links on a social platform.
When you created it you put time and effort into making it as awesome as you could. But, since then, how much energy have you put into optimizing it?
Don’t worry if your landing page was a set-it-and-forget-it landing page. It happens to the best of us.
The thing is, landing page optimization is important. And not important in the way I usually talk about important, in terms of Facebook advertising best practices or social media optimization. Important in the dollars and cents kind of way.
This article will give you a background on why landing page optimization should be a constant practice – something you need to be doing on a monthly basis. I’ll also cover the five primary variables you should be A/B testing to optimize your page for conversions and to decrease the bounce as much as possible.
The A/B Testing best practices I’ve included here are applicable for both B2B and B2C businesses. If you’re interested in lead generation-specific best practices, check out Mike’s article ‘How to Increase Traffic and Generate Leads with Landing Pages.‘
The Math Behind the Importance of Landing Page Optimization
If you’re like me, math kind of took a backseat (more like a trailer barely attached to the car) to writing in my education. But sometimes we have to harken back to 3rd grade and do a little multiplication and division to prove a point.
So here we go with a hypothetical (let me know if your head starts spinning):
- Let’s say your ecommerce landing page sees monthly traffic of 20,000.
- At the moment, let’s say that landing page is converting at 8%.
- Let’s say every person that converts on your page is worth $35 to your business on average.
So your landing page has a current monetary value of $56,000 per month (8% of 20,000 is 1,600, multiplied by $35).
Now what if you implemented one of the strategies I’ll give you below? What if you A/B tested your landing page’s header image and that change improved your conversion rates by 30% (totally feasible)?
- Suddenly your landing page is converting at a rate of 10.4% (30% increase on 8%).
- On a monthly basis this means you are earning $71,400 instead of $56,000, a change of more than $14,000.
The simplest changes can have the greatest effect.
If you’re wondering how to A/B test your landing page, you’re going to have to engage with a 3rd party (there are a lot of excellent ones around the web). They’ll send half your web traffic to your old page and half to the page you’ve optimized. Once there is a statistically significant (95%) chance of one page outperforming the other, the test will end and you can make those changes permanent.
Variable #1: Your Image
The human eye doesn’t really have a choice – when we land on any page on the internet, we look at the image on that page first. As such, it’s your landing page’s image that can have the most influence on your bounce rate.
The image is responsible for setting your landing page’s tone. The right image makes your business more relatable, personable, and likeable. It can encourage a higher level of trust in your USP (see below) or communicate an idea you want to get across. It also just plain makes your page more visually appealing, something which we all know has a positive influence on marketing efforts.
Images and Strategies to Test:
- Test a smiling person (real-looking people generally test better than models)
- Test three rotating images with three different corresponding headlines – and test the amount of time allotted to each image (yes, tiny details like that have an affect)
- Test eye-directionality on your landing page image: Test if there’s a difference between your model looking at your headline or looking straight ahead.
- Test multiple images: one above-the-fold and one below.
- Test having your customer testimonial (see variable #5 below) quote and image be your primary landing page image.
Variable #2: Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your landing page’ s USP is generally the second thing that your traffic will see after the image. This short sentence has to communicate value and understanding immediately. Your USP is what causes your landing traffic to bounce or stay and learn more.
You can go one of two routes with your landing page’s USP: go with something vague that sounds impressive and engaging, or go with something specific that offers value and trust. Here are a couple examples I found around the internet:
Vague but Impressive: Mercedes CLS is “Muscle meets Masterpiece”. Keen footwear has “It’s not where you go. It’s what you find along the way.”
Specific and Valuable: Adroll is “the most widely used retargeting platform in the world.” HTC One has “Maximized: Screen Size, Audio Volume, Camera Tools, Battery Power.”
It’s essential that your USP be believable and deliverable. Here’s what I recommend:
- Brainstorm five USPs or value propositions with a team.
- Focus on those characteristics that set you apart or those capabilities that only your business can deliver on.
- Take the two headlines that you are 100% sure you can deliver upon (if your client’s average return on investment is 50%, quote 35%).
- Re-work those two headlines until they shine (but don’t lose their legitimacy).
- A/B Test the two headlines against each other.
Variable #3: Your List of Benefits
The list of benefits is what gives your site traffic that little bit more information they need to be convinced they should engage.
For B2C or Ecommerce businesses, think of it like this:
- Let’s say you’re selling a winter jacket online
- That jacket’s USP or value proposition could be something like “Only AcmeDown jackets have built-in AcmeInsulation to keep you comfortable in the wildest weather”
- All well and good, but I’m not 100% convinced. I need something more. I need three or four more short points that really bring the value of this jacket home to me. For instance…
- “AcmeDown jackets are made from 100% environmentally-friendly down, ensuring no animals were hurt in their hand-crafted creation”
- “AcmeDown jackets come with a lifetime warranty and a one-month 100% money-back guarantee, so we’ve got you covered no matter what”
- “AcmeJackets has free shipping on purchases over $99”
For B2B businesses, try something like this:
- Let’s say you’re selling an email automation tool for mid-sized businesses
- Your tool’s USP or value proposition could be something like “AcmeAutomation: With more personalization capabilities than anyone else, we turn databases into people.”
- Hmm. Alright, I like that you have something none of your competitors do, but where’s the real value there for me? What am I going to get out of this? I need three or four concrete points that bring it home. For instance…
- “Marketing emails from AcmeAutomation have a 22% higher conversion rate than those of the average business”
- “AcmeAutomation has 24 hour a day, 7 day a week customer service line, allowing you to talk to a real person in your area with any questions or concerns. We’re here for you, whenever you need us.”
- “AcmeAutomation’s 1-month trial allows you the full capabilities of our automation tool, ensuring you get the full picture before you commit.”
Remember to include your list of benefits in a bullet-pointed format (or side by side with small graphics), rather than a paragraph. Keep your landing page simple, clear and to the point.
Variable #4: Your Customer Testimonials
Customer testimonials can have a huge influence on your page’s conversion rates. Face it, you’re not exactly the most trustworthy person when it comes to selling your product or service. And your landing page traffic knows you’re somewhat invested…
Use customer testimonials to get around this bias. Not only are your previous customers more trustworthy, they also prove that you’ve done business (and had success) in the past. Your web traffic wants to know they’re not the first fool to fall for your fancy images, snappy USP and sexy list of benefits.
How to do it:
- I recommend you incentivize case studies.
- Do your research to find the most successful (or satisfied) customers you’ve had
- Reach out and offer a discount on their next purchase or month of your tool free if they’ll give a fact-based testimonial about their experience.
- With the rise of visual content, I recommend you encourage the submittal of testimonial videos. Not only can these be quoted, but they can be embedded on your site (and people respond far better to faces and voices than they do to anonymous quotes).
If you can’t get a video it’s very important that, at the very least, you get a headshot of the customer. And as I said above, if this person is photogenic and their quote persuasive, test them as your main image (or one of your three-part photo rotation).
Variable #5: Your Call-to-Action (CTA)
Calls-to-Action tell your web traffic how to act on their interest in your business. Your image, USP, benefit list and customer testimonials have gripped them, engaged them, and decided them, but unless you make it simple and easy to click-through they still might bounce.
Optimizing your CTA is all about making it as visible and persuasive as possible.
Here are a few ideas:
- Contrast your CTA’s color with your landing page color scheme. If you’re going with dark blue, try an orange or green CTA button.
- Keep your CTA above-the-fold or test having it move with them as your web traffic scrolls
- Keep your CTA simple and appealing: Instead of ‘Buy Now!” try “Get your Free Trial”. Instead of “Click Here!” try “Get New Leads”, “View Demos” or “Pricing Options”.
As I mentioned above, the small details can have the biggest affect on your page’s conversion rates. You might be surprised at the performance change resulting from moving your CTA button from the top left to the top right or the difference between the button text “Check out the Pricing Page” and “Check out Pricing Options”.
Seriously, check out this case study from A/B Testing site Optimizely:
- Business: Ecommerce company
- Hypothesis: Changing existing small “+cart” popup when traffic scrolls over a product to a larger, permanent button on each product box with simple, large text will increase page conversions
- Test: Variation 1 of the test made the button permanent (rather than appearing when the product was scrolled over). Variation 2 made the button permanent and read “Add to Cart” instead of just “+Cart”
- Result: Variation 2 increased “Add to cart” clicks by 49%
Internet traffic is fickle. We bounce for the most ridiculous reasons. Because we visit so many pages so often, the slightest things can send us packing: a cliche USP, an image that looks too “stock” for our tastes, a lack of information or a pushy CTA.
So anticipating your web traffic’s behavior and deciding on hypotheses that could decrease your bounce rate is becoming more and more valuable.
Test constantly. And once you find a competitive conversion rate don’t just sit back and accept it. People will change; your business will change. That conversion rate won’t stay where it is forever.
Have you recently A/B tested your landing page? What was your test hypothesis and were you right? Start the conversation below.