Welcome to Optimize Me; a two-part introduction article about landing page optimization and A/B testing methods. Let’s begin by taking a look at the basics of A/B testing, and see how this method can contribute to accelerated conversion rates.
It’s important to have a good foundation before creating any test. To achieve a strong landing page as the basis for your future optimization testing, you will need to know exactly what your landing page is offering. After trying out a few different offers, you will get a sense of what works best with your target audience and product. As a starting point, questions that will help you create a good landing page are: What is the benefit that you are providing the user with? Why does he need it, and how can he get it? Once you have a marketing offer that you trust to be an effective one, you can begin the optimization process by conducting various A/B tests to different elements in the landing page, and by measuring the performance on each stage.
A/B testing is one of the most common tools online marketers use to optimize and improve landing page results. The main idea is to create multiple tests for selected individual elements of the landing page. A basic A/B test could be; changing the text of the headline, or comparing between two images to see which one produces better conversion rates. The only way to know if you are using the best element for your landing page is by A/B testing it with alternatives, rather than trusting your instincts. Many times, our own personal preferences may deceive us into thinking that what seems like a visually pleasing element is bound to work in terms of a higher conversion rate, but that is hardly ever the case.
Let’s start by taking a look at the main elements that comprise a landing page:
A powerful headline is highly significant to your landing page’s impact. Sometimes just by changing the headline’s tone, or by shortening it, you are able to dramatically improve the overall results.
A landing page’s layout can take many forms. It has been proven repeatedly that changing a landing page’s layout, for example: moving the form field’s location, or aligning the headline to the center as opposed to right, can significantly change your visitors’ initial response to the page.
What kind of image should you use? How will you know if it’s the right one?
While conducting A/B tests, you may find that a specific landing page yields better results when displaying the product, or that a different landing page works best with a different image. Perhaps in some cases you will find that an image is not necessary at all. The look and feel of the page will also be influenced by the background color, or the different coloring and texture of the elements it contains.
Many landing pages contain a form field section, usually with the intention to guide visitors into submitting their personal information. In addition to trying out different placements of the form field, there are many A/B tests that can be applied to the form itself. For example, sometimes changing the color of the form’s submission button will change the overall balance of the landing page, and draw your visitors’ eyes directly to it. Another interesting area to investigate is the number of fields in the form. Many times providing less fields to fill, would yield higher conversion rates, and most of the times you don’t even need the info gathered in those redundant info fields.
A simple and clear copy in a form is crucial for lead generation. Take a look at your form’s headline — Can it be more aggressive? Does it need to be shortened?
Lastly, you can also decide to test what text works best in the form’s submission button; does “Get it now!” work better than “Submit”? Test and find out.
Changing the tone of voice of a landing page, by adjusting the text or by adding testimonials are great ways to A/B test the desired tone of voice. Many times, certain third-party seals of approval can produce higher credibility and enable visitors to feel comfortable when submitting their information.
Please remember: It is important to test only one element at a time. This is the only way we can be sure exactly what generated a change in conversion. If we test more than one element in one test, our conclusions will only be assumptions.
For the first A/B test we decided to check the text on the form field button. The word “Apply” insinuates that not everyone can receive a loan. On the other hand it may provide the visitor a stronger sense of reliability.
On our second test we decided the check the effectiveness of an Approval Stamp. Does it motivate users to fill the form? Does it provide visitors the feeling that they are already approved?
In this third test we wanted to check if highlighting the form affects conversion rate. Yes we admit, we did change two elements (the form and the button), but only because we did not want to have a red button on a red form. However, we did have only one question we wanted to evaluate — Does making the form more apparent improve our results?
Most landing pages are constructed, and how A/B testing can serve as a great method for optimizing them. We will focus on three primary landing pages elements: Headlines, Layouts, and CTAs.
By A/B testing the offer and these landing pages elements we will be able to better understand what your customers want, and how should we communicate with them.
Start by thinking about your customer’s needs, what is he or she looking for? Begin a great
relationship with your clients by giving them exactly what they’re after. With A/B testing it’s possible to try different offers to get a better understanding of what motivates them. Is it a free E-book, a coupon, a free trial of your software? Test and find out what makes your clients tick. Remember that promoting only one offer per page is critical. Promoting more than one will in most cases confuse your visitors, and make it almost impossible to test.
Make the visitor immediately understand what the offer is:
In this landing page the visitor immediately understands that by filling out the form he will receive a free Double Beef Double Cheese — Delicious!
The visitor immediately understands that by using this service he might start earning more.
This landing pages elements leave no questions to be asked, sign up and obtain the offer.
Understanding how to talk to your customers
Let’s say we found out exactly what kind of offer attracts our customers. We would now try to understand what kind of headline works best, what should be the layout of the landing page, and what kind of call to action will works best. This is where A/B testing really shines!
Breaking the landing page into different landing pages elements and evaluating exactly which element variants produce better results. Start by A/B testing your headings, while keeping the following in mind:
Use The Following Techniques To Construct Effective Headlines:
Ask a Direct Question
Headline Example: Does Your Internet Provider Give You Free Stuff?
Use Lists & Numbers
Headline Example: 10 Reasons Why You Should Start Working with Us
Headline Example: 3 Secrets That Rich People Don’t Want You to Know
Headline Example: Learn How to Make Money without Having a Rich Father
State the Offer
Headline Example: Get Your Free 1 On 1 Course Today!
Methods For Designing Layouts
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Layout form: Headline on the left, drawing the reader directly into the body copy. When they’re done reading they immediately see the form and a big CTA button.
Straight in the middle
Layout form: Headline in the middle keeps everything in focus, leading to a short section of body copy and two big CTA buttons. The blue button on the left is one of the landing pages elements that draw more attention because of the word FREE — motivating the visitor to click on your landing pages elements and proceed.
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Layout form: This landing page structure allows the visitor to scan, read the headline, watch the video and maybe even read the body text. Each of the landing pages elements gets the right amount of attention.
Learn What Makes Your Visitors Click On Your Landing Pages Elements
Calls-to-action are obviously very important. Without them visitors won’t know how to download your offer, where to register for the free e-book or how to subscribe to your great newsletter. Here are a few recommended approaches for designing powerful CTA buttons. Try them out and find out which one work best with your audience:
Use big text
Use a primary button and a secondary option
Present the incentive
Additional CTA Tips:
Avoid using the old fashion “Submit” CTA button. It has been repeatedly proven to be intimidating.
When possible, don’t place your CTA buttons and other landing pages elements bellow the fold of the landing page, this will help your visitors understand exactly what they are supposed to do.
We hope this two-part article has given you the basic knowledge and assurance to start testing your landing pages too. As a last final thought, we would like to leave you with a quote from William Edwards, an American statistician, professor and author who said:
“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”.