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May

17

2017

Disproving Best Practices: The One- vs. Two-Column Form Test

Published by in category A/B testing, Daily, Landing Pages | Comments are closed

disproving-best-practices.png

A few months ago, I took the stage at Digital Summit Dallas to talk about blog conversion rate optimization (CRO). The session right before mine was led by Unbounce Co-Founder Oli Gardner — a household name for those of us in the CRO industry. Needless to say, it was a tough act to follow. 

In his session, “Frankenpage: Using A Million Little Pieces of Data to Reverse Engineer the Perfect Landing Page,” Oli shared lots of great data-backed tips for landing page optimization. In discussing best practices for conversion forms, he talked about how two-column forms weren’t ideal. 

What’s the Beef With Two-Column Forms?

Oli isn’t the only one to frown upon the use of two-column forms. Baymard Institute, a usability research company, published this a few years back, and ConversionXL Founder Peep Laja has also asserted that one-column forms perform better.

Peep’s colleague Ben Labay even published a study about the superiority of the one-column form over multi-column forms. The study showed that users complete the linear, single-column form an average of 15.4 seconds faster than the multi-column form. While speed is not directly tied to form completion, the data suggests that if the single-column form is faster to complete, fewer people will abandon it, garnering more conversions. It all boils down to user experience.

But Oli’s advice to avoid multi-column forms originally caught my attention because we had just redesigned HubSpot’s demo landing page, one of the most important landing pages on our website, and switched from a one-column to a two-column form in the process.

The thing that stuck out to me was that in switching to two columns, we had actually improved the conversion rate of our page by 57%. Now to be fair, the form wasn’t the only variable we manipulated in the redesign (we refreshed the design and made some copy tweaks as well), but it still made me wonder whether two-column forms were really all that bad.

So I put it to the test. 

The One- vs. Two-Column Form Test

Using HubSpot’s landing page A/B testing tools, I pitted the two-column form (the control) against the one-column form (the variant). Here’s how they looked …

Control (Two-Column Form)

demo-lp-control-two-column-form.png

Variant (One-Column Form)

demo-lp-variation-one-column-form.png

So “best practices” aside, which do you think performed better?

And the Winner Is …

not the one-column form. In fact, the two-column form converted 22% better than the one-column form, statistically significant with a 99% confidence level.

Surprised? I wasn’t. Just look at the length of that one-column form! Yes, HubSpot’s lead-capture forms are long (13 fields to be exact), but they’re long by design. Through our experience, we’ve learned that having more fields helps us better qualify our leads, and weed out unqualified ones.

But a 13-field form doesn’t exactly lend itself to a one-column design, which is why I think for us, the two-column form works better. The theory is that the one-column form, despite having the same number of fields, looks longer, so visitors are much more likely to get scared off before completing it.

Since we ran the test, we’ve actually switched to a kind of hybrid form, with elements of both a one- and two-column form, to make our two-column form a bit more user friendly. Our old two-column form is on the left, and our new hybrid form is on the right.

two-column-vs-hybrid-form.png

Questioning “Best Practices”

Any CRO worth their salt knows there’s really no such thing as best practices, and that everything should be tested yourself (which, coincidentally enough, was a major theme in the talk I delivered after Oli’s).

In fact, Oli and Peep will be the first ones to tell you that while they may share certain CRO findings and trends from their experience, there are no sure things. That’s why testing things for yourself is so important. What might work better for one site, might not necessarily work better for yours  that’s fundamental to CRO.

And in my opinion, running those tests to figure out what works for you is what makes conversion rate optimization so much fun. Especially when the results challenge what the experts say 😉 

land

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May

4

2017

How to Design & Optimize Landing Pages [Free Ebook]

Published by in category Inbound Marketing, Landing Pages, lead generation | Comments are closed

landing-page-optimization-2.jpg

Landing pages are an essential component of any well-crafted, effective inbound marketing strategy. Whether your goal is to generate leads, sell products, or collect data, your landing pages are where the action happens.

With the growing challenge of attracting and holding people’s attention online, it’s more important than ever to design your landing pages to trigger instant conversions. Otherwise, you won’t be able to gather information about the people visiting your website — which will in turn make it very difficult to understand them, market to them, nurture them, determine how fit they are for your product or service, and ultimately convert them into paying customers.

Want to start generating as many leads as you can for your business? Then it’s crucial that your landing pages are planned, designed, executed, and always working correctly. If you want to learn more about how to do just that, then you’ve come to the right place. We just released a brand new guide: How to Design & Optimize Landing Pages. 

This free ebook will teach you:

  • What landing pages are and why they’re important.
  • What an optimized landing page looks like (with examples).
  • How to A/B test your landing pages.
  • How to measure the success of your landing pages.

Ready to build high-converting landing pages for your website? Download our free introductory ebook on landing page design and optimization and you’ll have all the knowledge you need to start boosting your site conversions today.

landing-page-design-ebook

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Sep

22

2015

Motion, Consistency, Repetition & More: 23 Design Principles to Boost Conversions [SlideShare]

When you break a landing page down to its most basic level, you’re left with a few things: a catchy headline, a form, a few bullet points, and maybe a supporting visual.

These elements are often combined in a similar format, dressed up with the branding of the company, and pushed live with the hope that they’ll be enough to invite engagement. 

What’s missing? Persuasion — a meaningful push that actually makes a visitor want to take action.

If you want to drive better results for your next campaign, you need take your approach to landing page creation a step further. To help you get the conversions you deserve, check out the following principles for attention-driven design from the landing page experts at Unbounce

live webinar: INBOUND 2015 HubSpot product launches

Sep

21

2015

A Detailed Guide to Creating the Best Landing Page Images Ever

Landing Pages are the spice of life. Or at the very least, the spice of a good online conversion. In addition to writing a great headline and having a great offer, you’ll need some great imagery to complete your landing page. After all, a picture says a thousand words.

But what if you need to get a great image and you don’t have a graphic design on hand to bang one out? Follow these tips to get the best landing page images and increase your conversions!

1) Finding Free Images

Of course, the first thing you need are some images. You can purchase them from numerous online stock photo agencies, or—better yet—HubSpot offers tons of free stock photos for landing pages.

Once you find the perfect photo for your landing page, it’s time to optimize it for the web.

2) Image Effects

Once you have an image, you’ll probably want to make a few changes to it. 

There are many sites that allow you to make changes to images, in addition to all of the obvious Adobe products.

Depending on what you want to do, HubSpot may have enough for you in its image editor, which is possibly one of HubSpot’s most underutilized tools. Most HubSpot customers that I show this to have never seen it before.

It handles many of the simple imaging tasks you need, like resizing and cropping.

10thimage

Above is one of HubSpot’s free stock photos  being edited in HubSpot’s image editor.

By changing Warmth and Focus, you can get some very nice effects if you’re looking to make a nice background image:

11thimage

12thimage

3) Images and Page Performance

One of the biggest factors affecting landing page images is their size, which can greatly reduce the speed at which the landing page loads in the prospect’s browser. The slower it loads, the bigger the chance the prospect will bail and never see your offer, and therefore never convert.

You can test all of your prexisting landing pages (and all images on the those pages) in Google’s Free PageSpeed Insights Tool.

It’s easy to do, just put in the URL of your landing page and go:

1stimage

For your new images, you should always keep page performance in mind while creating the image.

4) Determining Image Dimensions

The biggest issue with page performance will be the image’s dimensions. Many people will upload a very large image (like 2,000 pixels by 2,000 pixels) and use HTML to ‘size’ the image down to 200×200 pixels. The problem with this is that browser is still loading 2,000×2,000 pixel image, essentially loading 10 times more than it has to.

You should make sure your image more closely matches the dimensions you’ll see on screen so you don’t need to resize in HTML. 

Remember: most websites are only 900-1200 pixels wide on a desktop, so you will rarely want to see image dimensions in the 1,000+ range. 

5) Resizing Your Landing Page Image

There are tons of tools to do this both on and offline. One of our favorites when we’re not using HubSpot’s editor is the free Online Photo Editor from Pixlr.com

First, open an image file or URL using the “File” menu at the top of the screen. Next, click “Image” from the top menu and select “Image size”.

select "image size" from the "image" menu

A window will open that asks what dimensions you would like. Make sure you keep “Constrain proportions” checked so the image doesn’t end up looking squished.

make sure you check "constrain proportions"

Once you have the image size you want, just click “Save” under the “File” menu and save your image to your computer.

6) Size Your Image for Social Networks

While you’re resizing your images, you should make sure your image is optimized for social sharing.

Each social networking site has its own standards for image dimensions.

  • Facebook recommends images be at least 600 x 315px
  • Twitter only recommends the image be larger than 60 x 60px
  • LinkedIn images should be equal to or smaller than 180 x 110px

These are the images the social networks will use when someone shares your landing page. You can see why they’re important. 

This might involve creating multiple copies of your image at different sizes, depending on which social platforms you want to optimize for. 

7) Compress Images

Now that your images are correctly sized and stylized, you should compress the file even more to speed up your page’s load time.

I prefer tinypng.com for image compression. Its results are reliable and—despite the name—it compresses both .jpg and .png files.

Simply drop your files onto the page and it will compress them right there for you.

rev-img-compress-01

After you’ve dropped your files, you’ll see a list of all newly compressed files available for download. Download the files back onto your computer and now you have web optimized images!

rev-img-compress-02

Now you can upload your images to your site!

8) Set Your Image Alts

Once you have an image on your landing page, you must set the alt tag. The image alt tag offers descriptive text about your image for viewers who cannot see the image.

Not only that, alt tags boost SEO. They allow search engines to better interpret the content of your images by reading keywords from your alt tags.

Most content management systems allow you to set your alt tags when you edit or select an image. In HubSpot, for example, you can change the alt text in the image editing module:

in hubspot, press edit image to change the alt tag

include a keyword-rich description of the image

When writing your alt tags, keep these points in mind:

  • Make sure the description is related to the image. Do not stuff the alt text with irrelevant keywords.
  • While there is no official limit to how many words you add to the alt text, it’s best to keep it brief. This post on Hobo Internet Marketing’s blog suggests that search engines stop reading alt text after 16 words. Realistically, many images will require well under 10 words for a description.

Conclusion

You’re set! You should have a well designed and optimized landing page image that will help the conversions rush in. 

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Jul

14

2015

10 Brilliant Tips From Conversion Rate Optimization Experts

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We’ve all been there.

You have a website, a customer acquisition team, and a really great product — but people aren’t getting on board. Or worse yet, they hop on, check things out, and jump ship. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to turn visitors into customers — you just have to know which best practices you should start following.

Recently, the conversion rate optimization experts at Unbounce hosted an AMA at Inbound.org to chat about all things conversion. There were far too many things to sum up in one blog post, but we compiled some of their top tips for designing a great experience that, you know, converts people into leads and customers. 

Check em’ out below.

1) Use Tailor-Made Pages for Custom Campaigns

NSAMCWADLP: Never. Start. A. Marketing. Campaign. Without. A. Dedicated. Landing. Page.

Copy informs design, not the other way around. Write your campaign copy first, then design an experience to communicate it visually. When you work hard on a design without copy, you are blind to its meaning. When the copy comes along and doesn’t fit/work, the designer is left feeling like they didn’t do a good enough job — which is not fair and not true.”

~Oli Gardner, Co-Founder

2) Don’t Sell It If You Can’t Solve It

Message Match is the most significant ways to reduce bounce rate, improve time on page, and ultimately, improve conversion.”

~Ryan Engley, Director of Customer Success

3) Mine Customer Comments for Copywriting Gold

One of my favourite takeaways that I always come back to (with product marketing specifically) is from Joanna Wiebe. [It’s] her classic copywriting hack of mining Amazon customer reviews for copy. Using your customers’ words directly to speak to your other customers is such a powerful tool. I find myself doing this when we launch new features in the product — I’ll go back to old community posts from customers originally requesting the feature or describing their problems, and pull out quotes to use in the launch messaging.”

~Carter Gilchrist, Co-Founder

4) TL;DR — Keep It Short

We think of our emails the same way we do landing pages — one page (or email in this case, duh) one purpose. As a rule, we try to provide enough information that someone would need in order to click the call-to-action. No more, no less. It works well for us. As a side, I’m of course super sensitive to lengthy emails hitting my inbox, so I imagine our subscribers are, too.”

~Georgiana Laudi, VP of Marketing

5) Use a Process for Approving Copy

We do our best to make sure nothing goes out the door without at least two people giving it a sanity check. Two (or more) heads are better than one. Is it clear? Is it actionable? Is it delightful? Does it sound like us? Back in the day, Oli used to write really off-the-wall copy, and I’d pull it back to make sure the messaging was clear, but that we weren’t losing our personality. It was a great process that’s stuck with us even though there are now multiple people contributing.”

~Georgiana Laudi, VP of Marketing

6) Have a Specific Flow for Your Content Creation

We always start out by asking ourselves a few questions: 

1) Who is this piece of content for? What kind of marketer are they? Where do they fit into our customer lifecycle?

2) What problem is this piece of content solving for that marketer? How will this help them create better marketing experiences?

3) What marketing goal is this piece helping us achieve? What’s the call-to-action?

From there, we determine which channel is most suited to the content and the workflow varies accordingly. To keep track of all the moving pieces, we use a combination of Google Docs (for post drafts), Google Spreadsheets (where our multi-tabbed editorial calendar lives), Trello (for brainstorming content ideas and assigning them internally), Google Calendar (to keep track of deadlines), and Basecamp (for projects that involve multiple teams, like ebooks, webinars and Page Fights). WordPress is our content management system, our webinars are hosted on GoToWebinar, and our podcasts live on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Although the quantity of content we produce has increased considerably, we’re determined not to compromise on quality. Each post draft, webinar slide deck, or podcast episode goes through multiple edits and reviews and our golden rule is to never launch anything that doesn’t meet our editorial standards — even if that means not launching it at all. Put another way, everything we publish needs to serve our audience’s needs and expectations as well as our marketing goals. I realize this sounds super intense, but we have a ton of fun creating this stuff and strive to make our content as delightful and entertaining — in addition to educational — as possible. I hope that it shows.”

~Dan J. Levy, Content Strategist

7) Help Your Customers Be Successful

How does the Unbounce team ensure customer success?

Customer Support offers both general service support and advanced technical support, including some custom coding and troubleshooting for advanced features like Webhooks. They’re available by phone, chat, email, and just about any other way you’d wanna get in touch. They are primarily evaluated on Net Promoter Score as a measure for how happy our customers are with us, and how likely they are to tell friends/colleagues about Unbounce based on their experience.

Customer Engagement is what you might consider a typical customer success team. They work directly with our customers from pre-signup, through trial, adoption, and ultimately retention. The team focuses on three different buckets of the customer lifecycle, so the KPIs are slightly different depending on the bucket. More or less, they’re here to make sure that our customers know what they’re doing, continue to see value, and hopefully stay with us.

Customer Education is primarily a content and communications team. They produce the content for Unbounce Academy and manage our customer communications, including things like in-app messages, emails, and community posts. The team’s primary KPIs are adoption and retentionm, though with our annual/quarterly goal planning, we might dig into more specifics if we’re trying to improve adoption of particular features.”

~Ryan Engley, Director of Customer Success

8) Don’t “Wing It” When It Comes to Onboarding

Unbounce divides their customers into three groups:

Pre-trial includes anyone who has not signed up for an account, anyone on free, and anyone currently on trial. We don’t have a typical sales team, but this would be the most sales-like focus we have. Our Onboarding team’s primary goal is to vet/educate potential high lifetime value customers on Unbounce and to get them to sign up. The evaluation here is number of signups, retention, and percentage of customers who sign up for annual prepayment. Is is technically sales? Yes. But our focus is far more on education and product adoption than just pipeline and deals. Most of our customers pay us $99 per month on no contract — it’s hard to warrant a full fledged sales team with a deal of that size, and moreover, someone who doesn’t fully see the value of Unbounce will churn anyway. So in a way, our Onboarding team exists to sell value.

Launching customers are those who have finished a trial but have been with us for four months or less. During this period, it’s pretty important that we help new customers launch their first few campaigns and continue to see value. We haven’t had anyone on our Customer Success team fully own this period (it’s been a shared responsibility so far), but it will be a focus for us in the next quarter.

Adopted customers have been with us four months or more. These should be customers who understand the value of Unbounce and are continuing to grow their use. Here we want to drive feature adoption and grow product use overall. The more successful we can help our customers be in their marketing campaigns and the more value they get from Unbounce’s features, the more likely they are to stick with us and tell their friends/colleagues about our service.”

~Ryan Engley, Director of Customer Success

9) Stop Turning & Burning Your Customers

[Design] an experience for your ideal customer vs. just a customer. We used to have two cheaper pricing plans and would have people signing up who were just getting started in marketing or didn’t really understand marketing. This caused a huge support burden and resulted in high churn. By raising our prices, we effectively isolated a more ideal customer profile (professional marketers with a budget), which ultimately lowered churn. Churn is always a problem though, and right now as it happens, we have a new team (a guild actually) dedicated entirely to battling churn. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of that in the next 6 months.”

~Oli Gardner, Co-Founder

10) Your Landing Page Better Have These Things

If you could only have three elements on your landing page, here’s what you should include:

1) You need a CTA, so that’s a given.

2) I think some killer persuasive copy in your headline and subhead could do the heavy lifting.

3) If you have to sacrifice everything else, maybe a video to serve as your hero shot, feature/benefits, and social proof? 

But ultimately, every landing page needs five things to do the best job possible:

  1. Hero shot
  2. Headline & subhead
  3. Features & benefits
  4. Social proof
  5. Call to action”

~Ryan Engley, Director of Customer Success

So there you have it: the best conversion rate optimization tips from the experts at Unbounce. We had a blast having them hang out on Inbound.org and if you want to really dig into ALL of the tips they gave out, make sure you check out all 177 comments, questions, and answers right here.

register for INBOUND 2015

Jul

3

2015

How We Increased the Conversion Rate on Our Mobile Landing Pages [New Data]

man-on-smartphone-mobile.jpg

Is your website ready to attract and convert mobile website visitors into leads? 

According to Adobe, companies with mobile-optimized sites triple their chances of increasing mobile conversation rate to 5% or above.

If that’s not enough to sell you on the importance of delivering a mobile-optimized experience, Google recently announced that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 different countries including the United States and Japan. 

All this talk of mobile got me thinking about how website visitors were accessing our offers. And after a closer look, I discovered that conversion rates on our landing pages were 20-30% lower from visitors coming from mobile. (As a lead generation geek, you can imagine how psyched I was to uncover such a huge opportunity for gathering more leads.)

With this information in tow, I set out to solve this problem — and I think you’ll be intrigued by what I found. 

The Methodology 

The hypothesis of this experiment was that by making content more easily digestible on mobile devices, it would increase conversion rate. However, getting inside the heads of our mobile visitors took a bit of reflection. I had to ask myself, “What would cause someone to bounce?”

Some answers I came up with were:

  1. The form is too long.
  2. There is too much text on the landing page to read.
  3. The design isn’t formatted for a mobile phone.

When presented with information that is not super mobile-friendly, a visitor won’t hesitate to bounce from your landing page.

Why?

Not only are poorly formatted pages time-consuming, but they also don’t appear very reputable, which often causes visitors to lose trust. With that decided, we knew we needed a way to condense all the information on the landing page to fit the size of a mobile screen. 

The Experiment 

To give you a better idea of what we were working with, check out what our landing pages looked like initially:

Landing Page Pre Optimization

As you can see, it was quite long with a lot of content. So in order to improve the user experience on these landing pages, we leveraged smart content to shorten the display for mobile users. (To learn more about how smart content works, check out this resource.)

The first step we took was shortening the content and formatting the images for mobile: 

1-86947258.png

Once that was completed, we tackled the form:

Untitled_design_11.png

Voilà! With the help of smart content, mobile visitors are now shown a shorter, more digestible form.

The Analysis

With the changes in place, we decided that measuring the page’s bounce rate would help us determine if the mobile smart forms helped improve our conversion rates. Essentially, bounce rate refers to the percentage of people who only viewed a single page — it’s the number of people who visit our landing page and then “bounce” without converting on a form. 

For this experiment specifically, we needed to figure out how many people filled out the form that came from a mobile device. Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how we approached this:

  1. We used Google Analytics to find the number of “new users” to hubspot.com. I measured new people to hubspot.com on mobile (and not repeat visitors) because existing people in our database would not be net new prospects (which is what I’m solving for). 
  2. I used HubSpot to determine the number of new prospects from the mobile smart form. 
  3. I calculated the conversion rate using the following formula: Conversion Rate = New Prospects / New User PVs 
  4. I calculated the bounce rate using the following formula: Bounce Rate = 100% – Conversion Rate

The Results

Results from Mobile Smart Form Test

By switching to mobile smart forms, we managed to decrease bounce rate (and therefore increase conversion rate) on each landing page tested by an average of 27%. Bounce rates that were previously between 50-90% are now between 20-50%.

Visitors now have a smoother experience and are less likely to leave the page before viewing and completing the form. 

Results from Mobile Optimized Content Test

After optimizing the mobile smart forms, we tested shortening the content and optimizing the images for mobile. This produced a 10.7% decrease in bounce rate. (We expect this number will keep decreasing with continued optimization.)

The Takeaways

Through this experiment, I learned to solve for the user. I also learned the importance of placing myself into the shoes of the user to better determine why and how conversions happen (or don’t happen) in the first place.

While marketers don’t always think of UX, this experiment proved that there is no denying its importance. If your website is slow to load, visitors might leave. If the user has to scroll through six screens worth of content to reach a form, they might leave. If the form they arrive at has 10 tiny fields, they might leave.

See my point here? To improve the odds of a conversion actually taking place, always solve for the user.

register for INBOUND 2015 conference

Jun

8

2015

How to Identify and Fix Friction on Your Landing Pages

Landing_Page_Friction.jpeg

You’ve spent a lot of energy (and budget) getting targeted traffic to your website.

Unfortunately, those visitors aren’t doing what you want them to do when they get there. 

But why?

Often times this comes as a result of landing page friction — a barrier that prevents your visitors from completing the action you’d like them to take.

Whether your copy is too long, your button text isn’t compelling enough, or you’re lacking social proof, you need to start by identifying the points of friction before you can turn them around. 

To help you get a better grasp on what landing page friction looks like, when it can be used to benefit your business, and how to resolve it when it’s hurting your conversions, keep reading. 

When Negative Friction Is Good

Negative friction point, you say? Aren’t all friction points negative? I disagree — friction can be both good and bad. For example, a commonly stated cause of negative friction on landing pages is long submission forms.

If there’s a lot of information to hand over when visitors arrive on the landing page, there is little incentive for them to complete your call-to-action. This state is often referred to as “psychological resistance.”

Do visitors feel like the transaction in unbalanced? Are they paying too much to get what you are offering?

Despite long submission forms being a common friction point within landing pages, we at HubSpot argue that sometimes a long form is a good thing. This is because those who commit to filling out a long form are commonly more interested — and often more qualified — than a visitor who does not. 

In other words, friction functions somewhat like a method of exclusion. Let’s take social media ads, for example. Targeted Facebook ads deliberately exclude certain demographics to avoid wasting money on those who would never be interested in actually buying. Down the funnel, this goes a long way towards improving the lead-to-customer rate. 

Essentially, both long forms and targeted Facebook ads aim to reduce the number of unqualified submissions by leveraging friction and exclusion to deflect those who wouldn’t be a good fit for your company. 

To give you another example, Chris Brogan of Owner Media Group goes against conventional marketing practices by charging registrants $20 to attend a webinar.

The-20-dollar-webinar.png

While I’m not privy to Brogan’s webinar goals, it would be logical to assume that any person willing to shell out $20 for a webinar is likely to be more qualified and engaged. Essentially, this approach employs friction to help him to weed out a lot of unqualified leads. 

Takeaway: What Can We Learn From These Insights?

  1. You need to identify the parts of your landing page that are preventing quality leads from continuing down the funnel.
  2. You need to figure out the parts of your landing page that are moving poor quality leads down the funnel.

How do you go about doing this?

The answer: good testing.

Identifying Friction: Two Real Sample Tests

At HubSpot, we are great believers in ongoing testing — even when something is performing really well for us. Much like the sales mantra “always be closing,” we hold ourselves to the motto “always be testing.”

When it comes to reducing negative friction, there are many things on a landing page that you can test to boost your conversion rate. Here are a few examples:

  • Persuasive copy
  • Social proof
  • Security
  • Referral source personalization
  • Imagery 
  • Benefits
  • Visual triggers (arrows, pointing, etc.)
  • Discounts or money-back guarantees

To give you a better idea of how an effective test is carried out, we’ve detailed two in-depth examples alongside their results. 

1) The “Indicated Reading Time” Test

Have you ever read an article online and noticed an indicated reading time at the top? Maybe it said five minutes, or seven, but either way it worked to set your expectations before you started reading, right?

I’m currently running an experiment to test the effectiveness of the “indicated reading time” inclusion by comparing a normal image on a landing page to an image including an estimated reading time for the offer. 

To illustrate my experiment, take a look at the image below. As you’ll notice, the first variation contains just the ebook, while the second shows both the ebook and the reading time: 

reading-time-test-mglive-blog.png

In terms of the process of the experiment, here’s how things have played out so far:

Background

The inspiration for this test stemmed from a feedback email we received from someone who had downloaded an ebook. He explained that the image on the landing page lead him to believe that it represented the length of the offer. From our point of view, the image of a book simply indicated that the offer was an ebook, rather than a template or recording, however, it was clear there was confusion. 

Problem

Could the uncertainty of length be preventing people from downloading our ebook offers? Aware that marketers are often strapped for time, picking and choosing which pieces of content they are going to read can be understandably difficult.

Hypothesis

While the word “ebook” often implies the length of an actual paper book, HubSpot ebooks are commonly under 25 pages. Trouble is, it didn’t seem as though our landing pages were communicating that. Aware that we were driving a lot of quality visitors to the page, failing to communicate the length of our content could results in us losing their interest — possibly forever.

Test

We ran a 50-50 A/B split-test for people who visited the landing page for one of our ebooks. One variation employed a regular ebook cover image, and the other displayed the cover image as well as a clock with the indicated reading time.

Results

So far, we’ve seen a 6% increase in submissions at 98% certainty. (Looking for an easy-to-use calculator to check your A/B test results? We recommend Get Data Driven’s A/B test significance calculator.)

Takeaway

After reviewing the results, it appears that we’re on to something. However, to ensure the validity of our results, we plan on replicating this experiment across a few more ebooks before declaring a winner. 

2) The “Form Redesign” Test (By: Yousaf Sekander)

Another great example of how to reduce friction points comes from Yousaf Sekander of RocketMill

Looking for a way to increase conversions for one of his clients, Sekander conducted an A/B test to compare the original variation of their landing page, against his optimized variation. Check out the image below to see the difference between the the two pages:

RocketMill-test-example.png

To give you a better idea of how Sekander approached this test, I asked him to provide a run-through of his experiment. This is what he had to say:

Background

A client of ours approached us to find out why visitors to their website were not moving along their sales funnel. The critical point identified was that the conversion rate on their forms was low.”

Problem

We analyzed the inquiry form (see above) on Tchibo UK’s website and uncovered a handful of friction points. Although the form was actually quite simple, the format made it appear big and complicated. In addition to its overwhelming size, there was also no incentive for the prospects to fill it out. On top of the form complications, we also noticed that the scrolling navigation obscured the telephone number.”

Hypothesis

Our CRO campaign manager, Bertram Greenhough, came up with a few form design ideas to reduce the friction. First, we would simplify the form by reducing it to one column and place it within a contrasting pop-up. The purpose of this would be to reduce the attention ratio, and redirect the visitor’s focus to both the messaging and the CTAs. In addition, we’d add a compelling question header, a bulleted list of unique selling propositions, a phone number, and an image of the product to clarify what the visitor would be inquiring about.”

Test

To determine the influence of the form changes, we conducted an A/B test to compare both variations and identify which one converted better.”

Results

After analyzing the results, we found that the simplified form saw over a 200% increase in conversions.” 

The Simple Way to Get Started 

If, like me, you have tons of hypotheses you want to test, you’ll need to start with a framework that shows you what should get done first. I like to use the “PIE” system. This process requires you to create a simple excel sheet, dump in all your ideas, and give them a score out of 10 in each of the following categories: 

  • Potential. Are these types of pages your worst performers?
  • Importance. How crucial are these pages for visitor-to-lead?
  • Ease. Is it easy to set up? 

PIE-chart-600x370.png

Source: WiderFunnel

The average of the sum of the total points will tell you what to begin with. Once you generate a score for each of the potential hypotheses, you can then begin to set priorities and start testing. 

At the end of the day, generating leads isn’t the easiest thing that marketers are tasked with, but it’s important nonetheless. Rather than allow landing page friction to negatively influence your conversion rates, don’t hesitate to explore different experiments such as the ones we detailed above. You never know until you test.  

Want to see a website through the eyes of a HubSpot marketer? We’re hosting an eight-minute live analysis of a website on June 11th at 15:00 BST / 10:00 EST. We’ll analyze the conversion potential of three different websites by looking at SEO, content, social, and design. Register here to watch.

Come along and watch us talk about websites like yours!

May

25

2015

5 Simple Ways to Optimize Your Website for Lead Generation

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Optimizing your website to generate leads is a no-brainer. But it’s not as simple as throwing a “click here” button on your home page and watching the leads pour in. (Unfortunately.)

Instead, marketers and designs need to take a more strategic approach. In this post, we’ll go over some quick ways you can optimize your website for lead generation that actually work.

To understand how to optimize our website, we’ll have to first gain a basic understanding of the lead generation process. What components are at play when a casual website visitor turns into a lead? Here’s a quick overview:

lead_generation_visualization.png

The lead generation process typically starts when a website visitor clicks on a call-to-action (CTA) located on one of your site pages or blog posts. That CTA leads them to a landing page, which includes a form used to collect the visitor’s information. Once the visitor fills out and submits the form, they are then led to a thank-you page. (Learn about this process in more detail in this post.)

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of lead generation, we can get down to the dirty details. Here are five simple ways to optimize your site for lead generation.

1) Figure out your current state of lead gen.

It’s important to benchmark your current state of lead generation before you begin so you can track your success and determine the areas where you most need improvement.

A great way to test out where you are is to try a tool like Marketing Grader, which evaluates your lead generation sources (like landing pages and CTAs), and then provides feedback on ways to improve your existing content.

You can also compare landing pages that are doing well with landing pages that aren’t doing as well. For example, let’s say that you get 1,000 visits to Landing Page A, and 10 of those people filled out the form and converted into leads. For Landing Page A, you would have a 1% conversion rate. Let’s say you have another landing page, Landing Page B, that gets 50 visitors to convert into leads for every 1,000 visits. That would be a 5% conversion rate — which is great! Your next steps could be to see how Landing Page A differs from Landing Page B, and optimize Landing Page A accordingly.

Finally, you could try running internal reports. Evaluate landing page visits, CTA clicks, and thank-you page shares to determine which offers are performing the best, and then create more like them.

2) Optimize each step of the lead gen process.

If your visitor searched “lawn care tips” and ended up on a blog post of yours called, “Ten Ways To Improve Your Lawn Care Regimen,” then you’d better not link that blog post to an offer for a snow clearing consultation. Make sure your offers are related to the page they’re on so you can capitalize on visitors’ interest in a particular subject.

As soon as a visitor lands on your website, you can start learning about their conversion path. This path starts when a visitor visits your site, and ends (hopefully) with them filling out a form and becoming a lead. However, sometimes a visitor’s path doesn’t end with the desired goal. In those cases, you can optimize the conversion path.

How? Take a page out of Surety Bonds‘ book. They were struggling to convert visitors at the rate they wanted, so they decided to run an A/B split test (two versions of a landing page) with Unbounce to determine which tactics were performing better on each page. In the end, they ended up changing a link to a button, adding a form to their homepage, and asking different questions on their forms. The result? A 27% increase in lead generation. 

If you want to run an A/B test on a landing page, be sure to test the three key pieces of the lead gen process:

a) The Calls-to-Action

Use contrasting colors from your site. Keep it simple — and try a tool like Canva to create images easily, quickly, and for free. Read this blog post for ideas for types of CTAs you can test on your blog., like the sliding CTA you see here:

Pop-up_CTA-1.gif

b) The Landing Pages

According to a HubSpot surveycompanies with 30+ landing pages on their website generated 7X more leads than companies with 1 to 5 landing pages. 

For inspiration, here are 15 examples of well-designed landing pages you can learn from.

c) The Thank-You Pages

Oftentimes, it’s the landing pages that get all the love in the lead generation process. But the thank-you page, where the visitor is led to once they submit a form on the landing page and convert into a lead, shouldn’t be overlooked.

Along with saying thank you, be sure to include a link for your new lead to actually download the offer on your thank-you page. You can also include social sharing buttons and even a form for another, related offer, as in the example below:

    • HubSpot landing page

Bonus: Send a Kickback Email

Once a visitor converts into a lead and their information enters your database, you have the opportunity to send them a kickback email, i.e. a “thank-you” email.

In a study HubSpot did on engagement rates of thank you emails versus non thank you emails, kickback emails doubled the engagement rates (opens and clickthroughs) of standard marketing emails. Use kickback emails as opportunities to include super-specific calls-to-action and encourage sharing on email and social media.

3) Personalize your calls-to-action.

Dynamic content lets you cater the experience of visiting your website to each, unique web visitor. People who land on your site will see images, buttons, and product options that are specifically tailored to their interests, the pages they’ve viewed, or items they’ve purchased before.

Better yet, personalized calls-to-action convert 42% more visitors than basic calls-to-action. In other words, dynamic content and on-page personalization helps you generate more leads. 

How does it work? Here’s an example of what your homepage may look like to a stranger:

Smart Content

And here’s what it would look like to a customer:

Smart Content

(To get dynamic content (or “smart content”) on your site, you’ll need to use a tool like HubSpot’s Content Optimization System.)

4)  Test, test, test.

We can’t stress this part of the process enough. A/B testing can do wonders for your clickthrough rates.

For example, when friendbuy tried a simple A/B test on their calls-to-action, they found a 211% improvement in clickthroughs on those calls-to-action. Something as simple as testing out the wording of your CTA, the layout of your landing page, or the images you’re using can have a huge impact, like the one friendbuy saw. (This free ebook has fantastic tips for getting started with A/B testing.)

5) Nurture your leads.

Remember: No lead is going to magically turn into a customer. Leads are only as good as your nurturing efforts.

Place leads into a workflow once they fill out a form on your landing page so they don’t forget about you, and deliver them valuable content that matches their interest.  Lead nurturing should start with relevant follow up emails that include great content. As you nurture them, learn as much as you can about them — and then tailor all future sends accordingly. 

Here’s an example of a lead nurturing email:

Lead Nurture Email

This email offers the recipient some great content, guides them down the funnel, and gets to the point. According to Forrester Research, companies that nurture their leads see 50% more sales ready leads than their non-nurturing counterparts at a 33% lower cost. So get emailing!

What other tips do you have for optimizing your website for lead generation? Share them with us in the comments.

free ebook: optimizing landing pages

May

25

2015

16 Reasons Why People Leave Your Website

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You’ve written some really compelling copy for your website. Your product images are polished. Your overall site design is professional. And thanks to marketing initiatives like these ones, you’re getting traffic to your site.

So why is it that so few of those visitors are converting into leads and customers?

I hear about issues like this every day. Unfortunately, converting web visitors isn’t as simple as the old mantra says: “If you build it, they will come.” Capturing conversions online takes a truly special combination of factors.

There are many opportunities to make mistakes that cost conversions on your website. If you’re having trouble getting buyers to stick, consider whether you’re making any of the following mistakes to cause visitors to leave your website without converting.

16 Reasons People Leave Your Website

1) Your design is outdated.

It’s an unfortunate truth, but we all judge books by their covers. On his blog “Social Triggers,” Derek Halpern shared a fascinating study that backs up the impact a site’s design can have on its perceived trustworthiness.

In the study, psychologist and researcher Dr. Elizabeth Sillence asked participants to review websites on the subject of hypertension and then rate whether they trusted or distrusted the website. In a surprising turn of events, the study found that 94% of wary respondents attributed their uneasiness to the website’s design.

Design matters. So if your site still looks like something out of 1996 Geocities, it’s time for a professional facelift. (You can download HubSpot’s ultimate guide to redesignin your website here.)

2) Your content is difficult to read.

On a related note, consider that design isn’t just about colors, images and graphics. The fonts you use, as well as the colors of your text and background, can determine how easily people can read and digest the content on your website. If it can’t be easily read, it’s simply not going to convert very well.

There are no hard-and-fast rules about which fonts to use and which to avoid — except you should never, ever use Comic Sans. Instead, stick to high-contrast color combinations and clean, ornamentation-free serif or sans serif fonts for best results. Here are a few tips and ideas on choosing the right fonts for your marketing.

As for font size, stick to larger fonts to give visitors a better experience whether they’re on desktop or using a mobile device. For headlines, use a font size of 22 px or larger. For body copy, stick to 14 px or larger.

3) Your site relies on outdated plugins.

If you’ve got your site’s sales content buried in Flash files, you’re going to be left waiting a long time for users who have neither the time nor the inclination to install updated versions of this outdated plugin. Even YouTube has dropped the Flash object embeds in favor of the more modern HTML5 video player.

Instead, use HTML5 for all of your videos and animations. To give a better experience for users who can’t or don’t want to watch a video (and to help boost SEO), include a summary, notes, or a transcript of the video.

Remember, though, that plugins and add-ons are deprecated all the time. The fewer bells and whistles your site adds, the less time you’ll have to spend jumping on new technology trends.

4) You’re overwhelming people with ads.

If your website is run on an ad-driven model, then removing them from your website entirely may not be an option. But just because you need to have ads doesn’t mean you need to have them everywhere.

Nielsen’s 2014 Trust in Advertising report revealed that survey participants trust nearly all forms of traditional advertising — including newspaper ads, magazine ads, billboards, radio ads and infomercials — more than they trust online banner ads. Here’s the breakdown on the extent to which those surveyed trust different forms of advertising:

nielsen-trust-in-advertising-report.png

Image Credit: The Nielsen Company

Since trust is a key component to driving conversions, limit the number of ads you use and the locations where they’re displayed. Ads shouldn’t be the first thing visitors see, and they shouldn’t take up more of your site’s real estate than its actual content.

5) The videos on your site auto-play.

I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me click a website’s “Back” button faster than a video that auto-plays. Today’s digital-savvy customers prefer to choose how and when they consume online content. Blasting at them without their consent is a quick way to drive potential customers from your website — without a purchase.

6) Your navigation structure is unclear.

Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you: You arrive on a website looking for a specific piece of information, only to get caught in a seemingly endless maze of poorly laid-out navigation options.

Not only is unclear navigation bad for your on-site user experience, it’s bad for your SEO as well.

The golden rule of navigation is this: Think through your site’s setup as if you were your own customer. If you were totally new to your website, how would you expect to find the information organized? What steps would you take to find the information that’ll answer your questions?

Rearrange your navigation to take your user’s needs into account and you’ll stop losing potential sales due to bad content organization. If you aren’t confident that you can rearrange your content according to consumer expectations, use a service like UserTesting (or even better, Drunk User Testing) to uncover potential trouble spots.

7) Your registration requirements are obtrusive.

Gated content is great for driving leads into a website sales funnel. But gating everything and protecting it with restrictive registration requirements will kill your conversion rate.

As you create registration opportunities, ask yourself if every field you add is necessary. If you find it hard to cut anything, remember that Expedia earned an extra $12 million by removing one single data field. (And for more tips on how long your landing page forms should be, read this blog post.)

8) Your site lacks personality.

Brand personality matters on your website and in your marketing campaigns.

The Millward Brown agency found that “there is a relationship between the way brands express themselves in different countries and the strength of the consumer relationships they generate.” Below is a chart of the specific words used to describe personality correlated with different countries around the globe:

personality-traits-for-successful-brands.png

Image Credit: Millward Brown

While the personality traits that are considered “ideal” vary from country to country, simply having an established personality is an essential part of a business’s success. If your website reads like anybody could have written it, you’re going to have a problem connecting with potential customers. Your sales will suffer without that connection.

(Want more tips on creating a brand identity? Read this blog post.)

9) Your site is slow to load.

Research from KISSmetrics reports that load times matter when it comes to website performance. Here are some key stats from their analysis:

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
  • 40% abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
  • Even a one-second delay (or three seconds of waiting) decreases customer satisfaction by about 16%.

If you’ve put off optimizing your site’s load performance, put it at the top of your to-do list. Learn how to improve page load time here.

10) Your gated offers aren’t relevant or appealing.

Crafting a compelling offer is one thing, but is it relevant to your audience? If so, are you showing it off in a way that’s appealing to visitors? If you see traffic patterns that indicate visitors are arriving on your landing pages and bouncing, there’s a good chance they aren’t connecting with the offer you’re pitching.

High-converting landing pages include a strong call-to-action that makes it clear to the visitor what the next step is — and what to expect by taking that step. Read this blog post for tips on creating persuasive landing page content. You might also consider split testing your landing pages to see what resonates with your specific audience.

11) Your product’s benefits aren’t clear.

If you aren’t sharing your product’s features with your customers clearly on your website, then you certainly won’t compel them to move down the sales funnel.

Consider the classic case of the original Apple iPod. Here are two different ways the iPod could’ve been featured on their website:

original-ipod-benefits.png

Image Credit: Help Scout

Apple’s early buyers didn’t care about 1GB or MP3s — they cared about the ability to take thousands of songs with them wherever they went.

This is what’s referred to as selling benefits, rather than features. It’s a critically important concept to understand (and implement) as you attempt to diagnose conversion problems on your website.

12) You never give a call-to-action.

While this might seem like a no-brainer, research by Small Business Trends suggests that 80% of small B2B business websites lacked a call-to-action as recently as 2013. Crazy, right? They weren’t losing out on sales because their calls-to-action were poorly written. They missed out because they simply failed to ask for the sale.

Your customers won’t take action if you don’t prompt them to, so end every sales page, blog post, product page, and so on with a compelling and relevant call-to-action that’ll encourage visitors to take action.

13) Your content or products don’t live up to your landing page’s promises.

In a post on the Crazy Egg blog, Cody Ray Miller writes about his experience visiting the website www.nissan.com. You might think that link would take you to the Nissan Motors website, right? But instead, it takes you to a computer parts website run by a family with the last name Nissan.

If you were looking for information about cars and landed on that website, would you stick around?

Of course not. And yet, that’s exactly what happens when you overpromise on your landing pages. Viewers get all hyped up, thinking they’ve found the perfect solution to their needs. When they arrive on your site and see find that the information there isn’t what they were expecting, their first click will probably be the “Back” button.

Don’t over-promise and under-deliver or you’ll see low conversion rates and get a reputation for baiting-and-switching your visitors.

14) Your site isn’t responsive.

Google’s major mobile algorithm update is here, so if your site isn’t responsive to mobile devices, you’ll likely lose out significantly in the organic search rankings.

That’s not all, though: According to research gathered by Mobify, “30% of mobile shoppers abandon a transaction if the experience is not optimized for mobile.”

Transitioning to a responsive design can be a pain in the butt, but can you really afford to miss out on all that traffic and all those sales? Learn how to make your website responsive here.

15) You’re not using exit intent technology.

Remember all those visitors hitting the “Back” button I mentioned earlier? There’s hope for regaining their attention using exit intent technology programs. These are tools that track visitor mouse movement. If it appears the visitor is about to bounce, that visitor will be presents with a message or offer in a last-ditch effort to help them stay on the page.

In one instance, a company using this software to present a 10% off coupon to exiting visitors improved its overall conversion rate by 13%, resulting in 2,423 conversions that would have otherwise been lost that month. That’s pretty powerful. Companies like Picreel offer exit intent technology that’ll help you capture visitors before they leave your website.

16) Your site’s been hacked.

The thought of your site being hacked without you even knowing might sound crazy. But according to Forbes contributor James Lyne, an estimated 30,000 sites are compromised every day. Many times, these hacks are sophisticated enough that the signs go unnoticed by all but the most observant of webmasters.

If you don’t have the time to pore over your code each day, consider a monitoring program like Sucuri to maintain that all important user trust that’s necessary for website sales and conversions.

By addressing these issues on your website, you should be see major gains in your website’s performance. But these aren’t the only factors that can affect your ability to convert visitors into customers. If you have another tip on an issue you discovered that was causing visitors to leave your site without buying, leave a note describing both the challenge you faced and how you resolved it in the comments section below.

free website redesign guide

May

20

2015

Form Length Isn’t Everything: 3 Other Ways to Optimize Your Forms for Conversions

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What’s the best length for landing page forms? Would a shorter form increase submissions while retaining quality, or are longer forms better?

These exact questions have been at the center of a hotly contested debate that’s been raging on since 2009. In fact, the popular website WhichTestWon that catalogs A/B tests, has 40+ tests on forms alone. Because forms are a central component to your inbound strategy, it’s important to optimize them for conversions while retaining any of the indicators of quality that you and your sales team care about.

But here’s the thing: It isn’t all about form length. You should be creating specific forms based on on the context of your web visitors (like whether they’re arriving on your landing pages on desktop or mobile), as well as that of your own goals. Only after considering that context can you test and refine form length to provide higher or lower quality leads.

In this post, we’ll walk through how to consider the context of your forms, and how you can use dynamic forms to improve quality and lead flow.

What to Consider Before You Change Your Forms

Before you begin to alter form length or change questions within forms, be sure to …

a) Get a measure of lead quality.

I would recommend doing this in two ways. First, look at your overall leads and how many are making it to the marketing qualified lead (MQL) stage. Then determine the close rate (i.e. how many are actually turning into sales).

Once you have a handle on close rate, speak with a few people on your sales team and get their opinion on quality. Combining the qualitative information with in-person feedback can provide a good signal of whether lead quality needs to improve, or if it’s already really good that may allow you some room to experiment.

b) A/B test elements of your form.

If your forms have a lot of questions, consider asking them in different ways, or having different ways of filling out the form. For example, changing your form from requiring a free text response to offering multiple choice answers could increase form submissions and help standardize answers — as long as the variability in free text is not crucial to your team. 

Display a Dynamic Form by Channel

If your highest quality channel is email, you may be able to display a longer form to visitors knowing they won’t bounce as easily. For other channels that don’t provide as a high quality leads, you could choose to display a shorter form and nurture any low-quality prospects towards your goal, or display a long form to weed out potential low quality submissions.

How Do You Know If It’s Working?

Look at the form’s conversion rates, lead quality, and the bounce rate on that page by different referral sources.

HubSpot customers: You can use smart content to display different forms based on the referral source of the visitor, and to easily change out forms without needing a line of code.

Show a Mobile-Specific Form

Mobile visitors fundamentally interact with your site differently. If you’re displaying the same form to them as you are to desktop users, they may not complete it due to length, form fields, or style.

For example, if you have a number of questions requiring free text responses, it’s unlikely many mobile visitors will want to complete the form because typing out a long answer can be tedious. Instead, try showing mobile visitors multiple choice fields. Consider testing how the length of your form impacts conversion rates as well as quality, too.

Here at HubSpot, our standard form length for ebooks and similar content is 15 questions. We use this form for any desktop visitors; but recently, we started to display a shorter form for mobile visitors that has fewer fields that can be completed easily. The result? Our mobile prospects increased by 5X in two weeks.

While you should consider form length for mobile visitors specifically, first think about how long your form is today. If it’s only a few questions right now, try keeping it the same and then try increasing and decreasing the number of questions to find the optimal length.

How Do You Know If It’s Working?

Look at submissions of the mobile form in particular. Are they high quality enough for your sales team? Do they need additional information? Use these questions (and the submissions) to gauge next steps on your mobile form.

Display a Different Form for Prospects vs. MQLs

You want prospects who are already familiar with your business to have the best experiences possible. One surefire way to deter them from having a great experience? Continue asking the same questions all the time.

Instead, we should be asking different information about our prospects than we do about MQLs, or even customers. Consider removing questions that are unnecessary at different stages of the buyers journey. For example, the question “What’s your budget?” may not be required at the bottom of the funnel.

Changing the questions and form length for each of these can lead to a much higher quality of leads and information, a better experience for visitors, and an increase in conversions as a result.

How Do You Know If It’s Working?

Your close rate should be able to tell you how prospects are moving through your funnel. You can also look to see whether that conversion rate between each stage changes. 

There you have it: Three ways of changing your form length dynamically. It’s not necessarily all about the length of your form, but when combined with the context you can easily decide what length is appropriate while ensuring that you are getting the required information.

download your free marketing personalization ebook

 

 

May

18

2015

7 Conventional Landing Page Design Tactics You Should Still Test

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Conventional wisdom is usually the safe play. Why take risks when there’s an established “right way” to do things?

In marketing, however, success often falls to those willing to buck trends and experiment.

When it comes to optimizing your landing pages, complacency and assumption are your worst enemies. It’s far too easy to defer to best practices instead of discovering what makes your unique audience click. Proven landing page techniques are commonly practiced for a reason, but what works for 90% of websites won’t automatically work for yours.

The genius of A/B testing your landing pages is that it allows you get a little bit crazy without making a permanent error. You can be as unconventional as you want, and testers consistently find that extreme adjustments are required for extreme wins. If you’re using a template anding page designer, making these “big changes” can take less than a minute, so there’s no excuse to play it safe.

To get the big wins, you need to test even when the answers seems obvious. Here are seven landing page “best practices” you should be challenging on your site.

7 Landing Page Design “Best Practices” You Should Still Test For Yourself

1) Minimalistic Design

Conventional wisdom dictates that landing pages should remain as empty, calm and spacious as possible. No distractions. Three colors maximum. One font. Like this landing page from DropBox for Business:

dropbox-for-business.png

The issue with this hard-and-fast “rule”? Different audiences demand different stimuli at different times. A Swiss audience might react differently to sleek design than an audience based in the rural America. Millennials are used to considerably more stimulation than an AARP crowd.

While simplicity is a “best practice” for a reason, like any practice, it should be tested specifically against your audience. Sometimes a more complex layout can drive more conversions.

2) Smiling Faces

A variety of studies (including several here on HubSpot) have demonstrated the effect a smiling face can have on your conversion rate. Human faces can create emotions within your visitors and help compel them to take action.

But images of human faces can also distract visitors. The human-free version of the HubSpot landing page below actually converted 24% better than the one with a smiling face that you’re seeing.

hubspot-product-demo.png

One of the biggest problems I see is with smiley photos is incorrect implementation. Many businesses will use images that are pretty obviously stock photos — you know, the ones with painfully fake smiles — in order to capitalize on this “best practice.”

But, in some cases, stock photos can actually kill your conversion rate, so you’ll want to tread carefully here. High quality photos of real people are the best way to go, but again, they won’t work for every one of your landing pages. (Here’s a list of 10 sites for free, non-cheesy stock photos to get you started.)

3) Security Seal

An eTrust, PCI or BBB badge on your page supposedly assuages fears that your site visitors may be harboring, so they can feel free to move forward with your offer, knowing their information is secure. In the example below from bills.com, you’ll find several trust seals on the left-hand side.

bills.png

Consider, however, that people often associate these types of seals with web forms relating to financial transactions. If you’re not asking your visitor for money, and yet you place a trust seal next to your signup form, it might raise suspicion that credit card charges could soon appear.

In situations like these, your landing page may perform better without the icons. It’s not so much a case of poor principles, but more a misapplication of good principles. Building trust with your visitors is paramount, but you want to save trust verifiers for the right point in your conversion funnel.

For more on trust seals and whether your landing page needs one, read this blog post.

4) Offering Only Legitimate Service Packages

A lot of marketing is simply the extension and exploration of natural intuition. For the most part, this stuff makes sense. But there are times when the study of human response can throw us for a loop.

When creating a pricing page, it would make sense to add a variety of packages to most efficiently engage with demand. You want to offer several legitimate package options and optimize your price points for max revenue. That’s standard practice.

But what several marketers have found is that customers will actually convert at a higher rate with the inclusion of an irrational option no one would ever buy. The concept stems from our inclination to compare objects that are more similar. By including an obviously inferior option that’s similar to our desired sale package, we can influence users to make the desired purchase.

For example, Carter & Kingsley increased a client’s profits by 114% simply by adding a package no rational person would ever buy:

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Unbounce did the same thing, increasing revenue by 233% with the inclusion of a made-up product:

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For some reason, this strategy can actually work — and it might just be able to boost conversions on your website.

5) Adding Social Proof

Social proof can actually be extremely powerful at building trust with your audience and leveraging the power of the crowd for the purpose of conversions. But like so many other “best practices,” social proof is only effective when applied within a specific set of parameters. The misapplication of social proof can significantly sabotage your conversion rate. Its power to destroy is directly proportional to its power to build.

For example, CalPont saw a big conversion boost after removing social share buttons from their page content.

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Taloon.com increased CTA click-throughs by 11.9% after eliminating social share buttons.

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The unifying factor here is that negative social proof is just as powerful at discouraging conversions as positive social proof is at increasing them.

In both of these examples, the pages tested tended to have a low share rate. Not all content is the type people want to circulate on social media. Accordingly, the visual display of low share counts actually worked against the company. It essentially told the customer, “No one wants this, and you shouldn’t either.”

So while social proof can be a big win in certain scenarios, it’s something worth testing, because it will likely work against you if you’re not careful.

6) Hiding The Price

Any salesperson will tell you to never reveal the price too early. The price is nothing more than a figure until you’ve been able to first establish the value of your product or service. Then, once you’ve built up the value in your readers’ minds, revealing the price makes it look much less intimidating — and can even be utilized as a major selling point in your pitch.

In a person-to-person sales presentation, this means saving the price for the close or pre-close. On your website, this traditionally looks like waiting until the bottom of the page to include your price or saving it for after your customer clicks-through to continue the sales process.

But, as we are highlighting in this article, standard best practices don’t always work. And that’s what SafeSoft Solutions found when they included their price above-the-fold in the middle of their homepage hero shot.

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The only change they made to the landing page above was to add in the $75 price sticker, and it increased conversion by 100%. What if you, too, are just a simple change away from doubling your sales? It’s worth testing out.

7) Using Video

In a sense, this principle is akin to “bacon makes everything better.” It may be true most of the time, but anyone who’s attended a creative dinner party and been served bacon-wrapped sushi knows better. (Sushi is good, and bacon is good. But together, they make for culinary revulsion.)

While video can be an effective (and visually appealing) tool for enhancing impact or conveying a difficult concept, when it comes to landing page conversions, it can also alienate, over-stimulate, or distract your audience’s attention from your primary call-to-action. Here’s an example of video on a landing page from Shopify:

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In one case, testers found that replacing their homepage video with a much-maligned image-slider actually increased signups by 30%. Another business increased conversions by hiding its intro video within a modal box instead of featuring it within an embedded player.

Test, Rinse, Repeat

The “best practices” of landing page design can help you to jump into marketing with a solid game plan. What works well for the majority of companies might do fine for yours. But once you’ve gained some context and experience, it’s time to take off the training wheels and start testing for you unique audience.

Every brand is different. Every landing page is different. Every website visitor is different. What fails for 90% of businesses might catapult yours into success. You’ll never know until you start challenging the cookie cutter practices and figuring out exactly what works for your audience.

free ebook: optimizing landing pages

May

12

2015

8 Copywriting Tips for Improving Conversions

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Every time you create the content for a direct response campaign, a landing page, an advertisement, or a sales email, you want the copy to be powerful enough to convert visitors to sales. You want the words to roll out of your keyboard in an unending symphony of, ultimately, higher sales.

But writing copy for these marketing assets can be hard. You’re providing users with useful information, yes — but that’s not all you’re doing. You want to create content that has a bottom-line impact. Content that sells.

So, what are the writing secrets that really sells people? Here are eight features that will help kick your conversion copywriting efforts into high gear.

1) Be positive in your tone.

Positivity sells. Big time.

According to Psychology Today, “Positive emotions toward a brand have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.”

What does it mean to be positive? It means creating an upbeat, feel-good, it’s-a-great-day attitude in your writing.

Does this sound cheesy? Not if you do it right. Positivity is basically happiness, the emotion that makes us feel good inside. Happiness can have tremendous effects on our motivation and can dramatically influence the decisions we make. 

Harvard researchers have found that positive emotions had higher viral potential. The reason? Happy people are more likely to share their happiness with others. In addition, happy people are more likely to receive and respond to your marketing message.

For our purposes, the question is this: How do you keep a positive tone in your writing? Here are some tips:

  • Positive content is very personal. Speak directly to the reader.
  • Positive content cuts the jargon. You want to make it accessible, not opaque.
  • Positive content focuses on solutions. If you focus exclusively on the problems you’re trying to solve, you’ll discourage the reader. Stay solution-focused.
  • Positive content uses words that connote happiness. These are words such as “love,” “like,” “up,”  “great,” “good,” “yes,” “awesome,” “sweet,” “reward,” “yeah,” “perfect,” “boost,” and “progress.”
  • Positive content is easy to read. No one feels buoyant when they are trying to read big words, long sentences, and confusing copy. Let the content flow with a short, quick, easy format.

Being in a good mood while your writing certainly helps, too.

2) Be personal.

The prototypical schmoozy salesperson is the guy who wears loud suits, puts his arm around your shoulder, pretends he’s your friend, and is as gregarious as the day is long. But, as it turns out, effective salespeople don’t have to be gregarious — but they do have to exhibit a sense of personal appeal that both inspires trust and invites a business relationship.

As a writer, you don’t have to adopt any sort of real-life personality, but you do have to be personal with your content.

What does this mean? All it means is employing the word “you” and  “your” a lot. The best copywriters know that being personal is essential, and using “you” is a great way to do that.

Check out the example of a Spring ad below, I’ve circled all the instances of “you”:

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By being personal, you’re speaking directly to the customer. They can’t escape the personal intensity, and one-on-one nature of the content.

3) Be direct.

When you’re direct, you’ll make your intent obvious to the reader — which is a good thing because people will trust your content and could be more likely to act.

What does it mean to be direct? It means communicating clearly. Your writing should be devoid of extraneous fillers and wordy sentences. Here’s an article on how to simplify your writing if you’d like to learn more.

Here are the a few quick tips for writing more directly:

  1. Tell the customer what you’d like them to do.
  2. If you don’t need that word, drop it.
  3. If you don’t need that sentence, drop it.
  4. If you can say it more clearly, do it.
  5. If you can say it in a stronger way without detracting your audience, then do it.

Let’s look at an example. How would you sell the features of a product that monitors online mentions? Here’s one possibility:

Our product enables you to access data in dozens of languages, providing total access to every available mention of your brand or name, including online content and information shared on social networks. This takes place constantly, ensuring that you get real-time data delivered to you when you need it.

No way. Way too long. Way too complicated. Try this instead, from Mention.com:

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The one-sentence description and headline “Monitor in real-time” is direct. It says what it needs to say, and then it stops.

Jesse Hines has a brilliant example on Copyblogger that explains how to pare down a phrase to absolute directness:

  • Bad Version:  “It is my opinion that we should cut taxes.”
  • Okay Version:  “I believe we should cut taxes.”
  • Better Version:  “We should cut taxes.”
  • Best Version:  “Cut taxes.”

So, what should you do?

  • Bad Version:  “Make an attempt to improve the direct quality of your writing.”
  • Okay Version:  “Try to be more direct in your writing.”
  • Better Version:  “Make your writing direct.”
  • Best Version:  “Be direct.”

4) Be assertive in your CTAs.

Writing won’t help sell unless it’s a little bit assertive.

What do I mean by that? The dictionary definition of “assertive” is “having or showing a confident and forceful personality.” An assertive person has a strong handshake, looks you in the eye, articulates clearly, speaks directly, and tells you exactly what he or she wants from you. Assertive people are confident, bold, and firm. You can develop the same style with your writing.

The best place to practice assertiveness is in your calls-to-action (CTAs).  The CTA is where you tell the user what to do. If you want to make a sale, go for the sale. Close it. Just say it.

Here are a few great examples:

Example 1: Power Habits Academy

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Example 2: Spotify

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Example 3: Uber

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When it comes to being assertive, less is more.

5) Be exciting.

If you can amp up the excitement factor by a few notches, your copy will become that much more powerful. Excitement helps take the customer from passive spectator to a fan.

Here are the tips for making your writing more exciting:

  • Unleash powerful verbs. Specifically, verbs that erupt with passion and explode with vigor. Okay, maybe I went a little over the top there .. but you see what I mean. Please don’t use passive sentences — they are excitement-killers.
  • Use short sentences. Short sentences are like a cheer. They come with staccato-like emphasis that gives a feeling of momentum and energy.
  • Keep speaking to the customer. Don’t let up on the personal-driven content. The content needs to be aggressively “you”-focused so the customer can feel the excitement directed at them.
  • Use an exclamation point (if you must). An exclamation point can be an artificial form of excitement generation. It works in some cases, but it can make your content seem forced. Use it if you must, but do so sparingly. (Bookmark this flowchart to help you decide whether or not to use an exclamation point.) And please never use more than one per sentence!

If you sound excited, then your reader will get excited, too.

6) Pat the customer in the back.

Okay, I’ll come out and say it: This is basically unvarnished flattery. People like feeling good about themselves, and telling them so — and that your product or service will help them get even better — will help you sell.

Here are a few tips for writing copy that makes the customer feel good:

  • Don’t be controversial. It can be an instant turn-off. Know who you’re targeting, and speak like you’re on their side about the topics that they want to hear.
  • Lead with information that they already know. Establishing some commonality regarding their knowledge is a great way to establish subtle camaraderie, and encourage them to think positively about themselves.
  • Draw attention to what they want to achieve. People enjoy feeling validated. If you can simply state how they feel, it will put them in a self-encouraged frame of mind.

Here’s an example from the app AroundMe, which helps users find specific types of places like bars or banks nearby. Check out how their landing page tosses in a bit of flattery, free of charge:

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Sure, it has a bit of double meaning — but it’s still a subtle nod to the savvy customer.

Here’s another example from Dollar Shave Club. They know what flattery is all about:

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7) Use data to support, not to lead.

Too often, we unleash mountains of data, charts, graph, statistics, and information to try and convince people how awesome our products or services are. But that’s not the way to win customers.

Yes, data is important, but it’s not the most important thing. While you certainly need data in your copy, you may want to front-load the positivity, and then back in the data. Velocity Partners expresses it this way:  “[Effective selling content is] data driven. But [this] doesn’t let the data swamp the story. Data is support, not substance.”

Data tends to throw cold water on passion and excitement, which is a strong feature of sellable content. So, while I encourage you to keep that data in the game, don’t use it as your first feature of persuasion.

8) Insist on action.

If your content doesn’t make people act, then it’s not doing its job. Your copy has to have an action-focused feel in order to be ultimately successful.

I’m not simply speaking about the CTA, which would be most obvious. Instead, I’m urging you to keep the action-oriented direction of the content front-and-center throughout all your content.

Here are some tips for how to do this:

  • Emphasize the now. The user needs to know that now is the time. Make them live in the present and experience the urgency of the situation.
  • For every informational sentence, add a “so that.” If you need to give information, then explain the “so that” behind it. For example, you write “The fastest processor on the market, so you can get tons of stuff done.” That two-part fragment contains information (fast processor), and why it matters (action). The action helps the sentence live, breathe, and move.
  • Use action verbs. Verbs like “be,” “is,” “am,” “are,” “will,” and “have” are unavoidable. (In fact, I just used one in that sentence.) But use action verbs as much as you can: “get,” “launch,” “work,” “lead,” “blast,” “produce,” “create,” “push,” “drive,” “pull,” “sustain.” Action verbs fuel your content and help drive people to do things.

Now, it’s your turn.

Lead your boring copy out of the grave and make it live. The end result is glorious: higher sales, better revenue, more customers, and through-the-roof conversions. It’s up to you to produce the content that will make this happen.

How do you create content that sells? 

free content creation templates

Apr

17

2015

These Landing Page Flaws Could Be Hurting Your Conversion Rates [Infographic]

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Lead generation is a major component of inbound marketing. It’s an exchange of information: You offer people valuable content, and they offer you valuable information about themselves, like their name, email address, and company.

When it comes to meeting your lead generation goals, landing pages are the strongest tools marketers have — which is why it’s so important to get them right. Everything about your landing page, from the wording of the title to the size of the image to the length of the description, contributes in some way to how many people decide to fill out the form and turn into a lead (and hopefully a customer, down the road).

If your landing page is wordy and long, only the truly dedicated are gonna read it. If you’ve included multiple calls-to-action, visitors won’t know which to click on. If your page takes too long to load, you’ll lose the more impatient folks. Every one of these flaws has been proven to lower conversion rate — and trust me, you don’t want those to add up.

Which landing page mistakes should marketers avoid? The infographic below from Quick Sprout covers seven of the most common ones that can hurt conversion rates — and how to fix them. (And check out this blog post to learn more about optimizing your landing pages.)

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  free ebook: optimizing landing pages

Apr

13

2015

3 Ways to Optimize Your Landing Pages to Better Address Human Behavior

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Just like some words are more persuasive than others, some designs are more persuasive than others, too. A landing page’s layout, the fonts and colors used, image placement, form length, and other design factors can have an impact on how many people actually choose to fill out the form.

Want to design a landing page that persuades people to convert? Then you’ll need to take a step back from the aggregate data about site visits, conversion rates, and lead numbers, and think hard about the human behind the screen. What makes him or her tick? What are her or his goals? Only after considering these questions can we begin to think about optimizing our landing pages for conversion.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is, simply, understanding human behavior.

Easier said than done, you might be thinking. Well, let’s break it down a little bit. According to the Fogg Behavioral Model for persuasive design, human behavior is a product of three factors: motivation, triggers, and ability. The more you keep these factors top-of-mind as you design your landing page, the more persuasive your design will be.

In this post, we’ll explore these three factors of human behavior. For each factor, you’ll come away with solid, data-backed takeaways that you can use when designing your own, high-converting landing pages.

And if you want to learn more data-backed CRO hacks, watch our on-demand webinar with Wordstream.

1) Motivation

According to Fogg’s behavioral model, humans are primarily motivated by: pleasure/pain, hope/fear, and social acceptance/rejection.

For our purposes, it’s inspiring hope and social acceptance that are most relevant. Hope allows users to anticipate a positive outcome, and the desire for social acceptance is a hardwired into us as we historically depended on living in groups to survive.

Takeaways for Marketers

Convey your company’s expertise.

Chances are that your business writes offers on topics your colleagues are experts in. Why not show that off on your landing page? Dedicate space on your where you can tell visitors what it is that your company specializes in. By establishing authority in the field, you’ll give visitors more of a reason to trust the content behind the form, making them more likely to convert.

We’ve actually tested this theory at HubSpot. In one test, we included a blurb next to our logo on several landing pages that briefly conveyed our expertise. It said, “HubSpot is an inbound marketing software platform that has helped over 12,000 companies attract visitors, convert leads, and and close customers.” Landing pages with this variation saw, on average, a 3% increase in conversion rates compared to those with just the plain logo.

List the number of downloads an offer has.

Never underestimate the power of social proof. When visitors see that a whole bunch of people have downloaded the offer before them, they’re more likely to follow the herd. That number of downloads establishes a norm, and people like following norms.

At HubSpot, we tested added the following subtitle to some of our landing pages: “Join X marketing professionals who have already downloaded this offer!” Landing pages with this variation saw, on average, a 4% increase in conversion rates compared to those with just title and a offer-related subtitle.

2) Ability

In persuasive design, “ability” is synonymous with “simplicity.” Simplicity factors can vary by individual: Some people have more time, some people have more money, and others can invest in tasks with a larger cognitive load, while still others cannot.

Basically, simplicity is a function of a person’s scarcest resource at the moment a behavior is triggered. In marketing, we want to make our landing pages as simple as possible in terms of time and cognitive load.

Takeaways for Marketers

Use images instead of words.

When people want to download an offer, they may not have the time to read through a lot of words. Chances are, they have other things on their mind and may not have the cognitive space to read through a lot of difficult content on your landing page. To reduce words on your landing pages and get to the point more quickly, try showcasing the value of your offer through images. Not only is visual content appealing, it’s also much easier to digest than words. 

At HubSpot, we ran a test where we looked at conversion rates of landing pages with the offer value proposition listed in bullet point format to those with the value showcased by screenshots of the offer. We found that landing pages with screenshots had conversion rates that were, on average, 3% higher than those with bullet points.

Reduce the number of form-fields you have on your forms.

Filling out forms is time-consuming. If a person comes to a landing page and sees a ton of form fields, they might feel overwhelmed and bounce from the page quicker than you can say “conversion.” Upon initial contact, it may be better to present a shorter form to the visitor. Although shorter forms mean you won’t get as much information from visitors, you can use strategies like progressive profiling to gather more information from them later on. It’s better to get more people to convert.

At HubSpot, we ran an experiment where we replaced our longer form with a form that only showed four fields at first. The landing pages that showed four form fields at first had a 7% higher conversion rate, on average, than the longer ones.

3) Triggers

A trigger is something that tells people to perform a behavior now. There are three types of triggers:

  • A spark is a trigger that motivates behavior.
  • A facilitator makes behavior easier.
  • A signal indicates or reminds.

With interactive technology, triggers have become more important than ever before: A person receives a trigger, and they’re encouraged to act immediately, and sometimes on impulse.

Takeaways for Marketers

Mention the word “free” in the landing page title.

When people come to a landing page, they may hesitate to convert if it’s not clear that an offer is free. Don’t leave them to ponder — instead, mention explicitly that they don’t need to pay any money to download the offer.

At HubSpot, we tried this with a few of our landing pages. Landing pages with the word “free” in the title had a 3% higher conversion rate, on average, than those that didn’t.

Use words of urgency in the landing page header.

Triggers can also be used to encourage people to act on impulse. Add words that cue urgency to increase the likelihood that they’ll go with their gut reaction of downloading.

At HubSpot, we added urgency phrases like “immediately,” “available now,” “limited time only,” and “don’t miss out” to a few of our landing pages. The pages with the urgency wording had an average conversion rate 4% higher than those that didn’t.

When you design a landing page that has factors of motivation, simplicity, and triggers present, then conversion — your target behavior — will increase.

Have you tested any of these CRO tips on your landing pages? Share your experiences in the comments below.

free webinar: conversion rate optimization

Jan

15

2015

16 of the Best Landing Page Design Examples You Need to See

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Putting together an A+ landing page can be tricky.

There are so many elements that a top-notch landing page needs, and making those elements the “best” they can be often depends on what your landing page goals are. 

Take form length, for example. It’s just one of the many components you need to optimize, but best practices will tell you that both short and long forms perform well — it all depends on whether you want to generate a lot of (potentially) lower quality form submissions, or a smaller number of higher quality submissions. Download our free guide to landing pages here to learn how to design landing pages that convert. 

So if you’re looking to up your landing page game, it’s helpful to know what goes into a great landing page and see a few examples of these nuanced elements in action. Surprisingly, when I started doing research into the latter, I realized there are hardly any sites out there with examples of modern, impressive landing pages that are more than just a sign-up form on a homepage. So we decided to compile a list of landing pages we love ourselves.

Big, big caveat here: I don’t have access to any of the stats for these pages, so I can’t tell you how well they convert visitors, leads, and customers. Still, these examples have some of the best combinations of those nuanced landing page elements I’ve ever seen. Obviously, if you feel inspired to try any of these tactics on your own site, the only way to know whether they’ll work for you for sure is by testing them out for yourself.

16 Examples of Great Landing Page Design 

1) Wistia

First up is Wistia’s landing page for their Free Wistia Account. Right off the bat, you notice the one-field form to create your account — the blue, minimally patterned background contrasts nicely with the bright white form field.

The length of the form field combined with the prominent placement eliminates nearly all friction to create an account … but if you’re having doubts, you can always scroll below to read answers to top FAQs. By separating these two sections with stark color contrast, Wistia makes it much easier for you focus on converting.

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2) Unbounce

It’s no surprise Unbounce is near the top of this list — they’ve actually written the book on creating high-converting landing pages. Although there are lots of amazing things about this landing page, the two that I absolutely love are: 1) The directional cue from the supporting images to the CTA button, and 2) the detailed — but well packaged — information below the form. 

The first helps direct attention to the goal of the page — for you to fill out the form — in a way that’s unobtrusive. The second gives this page an SEO boost (search engines will have more content to crawl) and assuages any worry from folks who need to know more about a piece of content before handing over their information, all while not distracting people from the form. 

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3) IMPACT Branding & Design

Full disclosure: IMPACT is a HubSpot partner — but that’s not why they’re included here. IMPACT’s landing pages have long been a source of design inspiration. I love the simple layout of the page, from the large headline copy and detailed featured image, to the outline that surrounds the form, to the colors and fonts that are very pleasing to the eye.

Notice that they’ve included a check box to subscribe to their blog, which is automatically checked. Note that while adding a check box field to your landing page forms is a great way to increase subscribers, it’s better to leave it unchecked and let users opt in. Otherwise, you’ll risk adding a lot of low quality subscribers to your contact base. (Read this blog post to learn why having low quality subscribers can hurt your business.)

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4) WebDAM

While WebDAM’s landing page has many neat features, my favorite (by far) is the form. The little icons in front of the text are all indicative of the information you need to put in — just look at the ones next to “First Name” and “Last Name.” The form also has a blue background that stands out from the hero image behind it. And the “Submit” button? It features an orange background (a complementary color to blue), customized and compelling copy, and an arrow to signify that you’ll progress to the downloadable guide.

All this, and I haven’t even touched on the detailed but concise information below the form, including well-known customers and customer testimonials. Top-notch work, WebDAM!

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5) Bills.com

Often, people think landing pages are static pages on your website. But with the right tools, you can make them interactive and personalized.

Take the example below from Bills.com. To see if you’d benefit from their consultation, you answer three questions before you are shown a form. It starts with this one:

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Then, you answer two more questions, like the one below:

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And here’s the final landing page form where you fill out your information:

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I’m not sure how the algorithm works (or if there’s one at all), but while I was filling it out, I had some anxiety about not qualifying. Once I found out I did, I was excited to fill out the form, which I’m sure most people who are in debt and using this tool are. By making this offer seem more exclusive before the form appeared on the landing page, I’d bet that Bills.com increased conversions pretty significantly.

6) Trulia

Trulia did something very similar to Bills.com with their landing page. It starts with a simple form asking for “an address” (which sounds less creepy than “your address,” although that’s what they mean). Below this simple form field is a bright orange button that contrasts well with the hero image behind the form, and emphasizes that the estimate will be personalized to your home.

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Of course, the address itself won’t be enough to estimate the value of a home. It just denotes the home’s neighborhood. That’s why the next page follows with more questions about the property itself, like number of beds and baths. Below, you see the copy “Tell us where to send the report” — with a disclaimer that, by entering this information, you’re agreeing to connect with a real estate agent. This is a great example of a company giving value to their visitors from the get-go, while setting visitors’ expectations about what will happen as a result. 

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7) Basecamp

Like Unbounce, Basecamp also has a really long, in-depth landing page with lots of information below the fold. But what won me over was that cartoon at the top informing visitors that this version is “all new for 2016,” which spruces up a somewhat minimal page. I also love that the arrow pointing to the form, which directs visitors’ attention to it straight away. Can’t get much better than that.

If you go to the landing page itself and scroll down, you’ll see that the form moves along with the content on the right. That’s a clever way of keeping the form “above the fold” at all times, thereby reducing friction if the visitor should decide to fill in their information while they’re reading further down on the page.

basecamp-landing-page-example.png

[Click here to see the whole landing page.]

8) Zendesk

I like Zendesk’s Free Trial landing page because it’s simple in both copy and design. The only thing that really stands out on the page are the two CTA buttons — and the egg drawing at the top, which wiggles as though it’s about to crack open. The form itself is simple and only requires a work email address and a password to create an account. Or, you can just use your Google Apps login, shortening the conversion path even further.

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9) Webprofits

For a little contrast … what about long landing pages? With just a few tricks, you can make even the longest landing page feel short. Webprofits’ landing page below shows us how.

Right at the top, there’s a prominent form field for an email address — with a nice contrast against the background so it stands out. If you want to convert right then and there, you can put in your email and, magically, the rest of the form field appears. By not putting that whole form field up front, they help reduce friction.

They also make it easy for you to figure out what Webprofits actually does. The rest of the page offers detailed information about what you’ll get when you give over your information. Plus, it includes strategic CTAs throughout to take you back to the top to fill out the form, like “Get a Free Analysis Now.”

webprofits-landing-page-example.png

10) Inbound Emotion

Even though this HubSpot Partner site is in Spanish, you can still appreciate its conversion capabilities. My two favorite features of the page? As with Basecamp, the form stays in a fixed, prominent position as you scroll through the site. I also love the hands that serve as directional cues toward filling out the form and sharing the page with others.

inbound-emotion-1 

11) H.BLOOM

Sometimes, you’ve just got to stop and admire a landing page for being beautiful. Using high-resolution photography and lots of white space, H.BLOOM’s landing page is a pleasure to look at. 

Aside from its beauty, the page has some great conversions elements: an above-the-fold form, clear and concise description of what’ll happen when you fill out the form, and even the bright orange “Submit” button. The only thing we’d change up? The copy on the “Submit” button — that could be more specific to the offer at hand. 

hbloom-1

12) Velaro Live Chat

Sometimes the smallest details make the biggest difference. They’re what make Velaro Live Chat’s landing page awesome, for example.

That small PDF symbol over the feature image helps set expectations for what format the download will be in. The arrow in front of the subheadline helps further direct your attention to important copy they want visitors to read. Like IMPACT, they also have an auto-checked box to subscribe to their newsletter on their form — which, if turned into an opt-in check boxis a great way to increase subscribers. All of these small, seemingly insignificant details help bring together a solid, admirable landing page design.

velaro-landing-page-example-1.png

13) University of California, Davis

There are a lot of colleges and universities out there creating beautiful websites. In UC Davis’ case, that extends to their landing pages, like the one below for their free sample lesson on the art of making sparkling wine.

I love how the opaque blue background of the form is an extension of the hero image at the top, which draws the eye downward toward the form. I haven’t seen this on many landing pages — it’s a great directional cue that’s not as obvious as an arrow. (Although they have an arrow, too, on the “Watch the Sample Lesson” CTA at the bottom of the form.)

uc-davis-art-of-winemaking-landing-page-example.png

14) Conversion Lab

While I wouldn’t typically include an example of a homepage with a form on it in a post about landing pages (click here to learn why), this website is special. The homepage is the entire website — the navigation links just take you to the information below.

When you click “Get Help With Landing Pages,” the entire site moves over to make room for the form. Here’s what it looks like before you click:

conversion-lab-landing-page-1.png

And, when you click that CTA, check out how the form appears: 

conversion-lab-landing-page-2.png

I love how you don’t have to leave the page to fill out the form, yet the form won’t feel intrusive to casual website visitors. 

15) Industrial Strength Marketing

Right off the bat, this landing page pulls me in with a compelling, punchy header: “Don’t Make Me Zoom.” It directly speaks to a common experience most of us have had when we’re browsing on our phones or tablets — and it’s a little sassy, too. 

But that’s not the only thing keeping me interested in this landing page. Notice how the color red is strategically placed: It’s right at the top and bottom of the form, drawing you even closer to the conversion event.

industrial-strength-marketing-landing-page-example.png

Plus, this design is meta to boot: It looks and works great on mobile, too. Keep in mind that a lot of visitors will be accessing your landing pages on their smartphones or tablets, and if the design of your website doesn’t work well for them, they might give up and leave your page.

The folks at Industrial Strength Marketing made the fonts and form field big enough so that visitors don’t have to pinch-to-zoom to read and interact with the content, for example. (Read this blog post to learn how to make your webpages work great for mobile visitors.)

industrial-strength-marketing-mobile-landing-page-1.jpg

industrial-strength-marketing-mobile-landing-page-2.jpg

16) Shopify

Like many of the other landing pages in this post, Shopify’s trial landing page keeps it simple. The user-oriented headline is just a few words, for example, and the page relies on simple bullets, not paragraphs, to communicate the trial’s details and benefits. There are only a few fields you need to fill out before you get started. All of this makes it easier for you to get to the point: selling online with their tool. 

The icing on the cake? This landing page looks gorgeous (and functional) on any device you’re using. Responsive design for the win!

shopify-landing-page-example.png

Want more landing page inspiration? Check out some of our favorite HubSpot landing page examples.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

how to design landing pages that convert

 
how to design landing pages for conversion

Jan

2

2015

10 Ways to Increase Conversions Using Psychology [Infographic]

psychology-conversion

The best marketers I know are always on the lookout for clever hacks and tools to increase their conversion rates. They’re the ones to jump on Snapchat, or experiment with animated GIFs in email, or hack together a parallax scrolling landing page. 

The best marketers I know also understand that these new tools and ingenious hacks don’t always pan out. Sometimes, jumping on the latest trends doesn’t make a dent in your conversion rates, no matter how well you’ve implemented them.

So to make sure they’re hitting their goals every month, top marketers will optimize their marketing based on something that’s been around for a while now: human behavior. They read up on what makes people tick — and adjust their marketing accordingly. 

Thanks to Help Scout, getting up to speed on the most important research in psychology is easy. In the infographic below, they’ve curated and summed up some smart, science-backed tips for increasing your conversions. Check it out!

convert_psychology

optimizing email marketing ebook

Dec

16

2014

How to Write Irresistible Landing Page Copy [Free Ebook]

landing_page_copywriting

When converting visitors on your website into leads, copywriting can make or break your landing page conversion rates. The success — or failure – of each and every landing page you create is riding largely on your copy.

After you’ve created killer ebook to reel in visitors to your landing page, you need to convince them to do one thing: click on a CTA and fill out a form in exchange for that helpful piece of content. It doesn’t matter how valuable your offer or beautifully your web page is designed, it’s the words on the page that ultimately persuade prospects to click.

HubSpot and Unbounce have teamed up to bring you a new ebook, The Conversion Marketer’s Guide to Landing Page Copywriting. It’s an advanced guide for marketers looking to beef up their copywriting skills to ultimately get more out of their online marketing campaigns. This ebook is chock-full of strategies and techniques that could dramatically transform ho-hum copy into the stuff famous conversion case studies are made of.

There’s always room for improving your landing pages to become more relevant, more persuasive, and more delightful. And, there’s always room for you to become a better writer. To make those conversion-centered copywriting dreams a reality, download this ebook.

Want to share this ebook with your Twitter followers? Use the click-to-tweet link below!

Click to Tweet:

Learn how to write more compelling landing page copy in this ebook from @HubSpot & @Unbounce! http://bit.ly/16oprD5  twitter-logo

unbounce-twitter2

Have any conversion copywriting tips or tricks that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

free guide to landing page copywriting

Dec

4

2014

How to Write Ridiculously Persuasive Landing Page Content

landing-page-5

I used to think persuasion was a dirty word. For me, and there’s really no viable explanation for it, it was synonymous with deceit

I don’t know, just something about the word seemed very “Vader coercing Luke of interstellar domination” to me.

But then I started working for an awesome company where I believed in the solution we offered. It’s crazy what that can do for changing one’s philosophy. 

I wanted our audience to believe, too. But I know enough to understand that people view any advertisement with a healthy dose of skepticism. It’s a natural defense mechanism. 

Therefore we need to persuade. And landing pages are prime real estate. 

Want to write persuasive landing page content?

1) Provide actionable benefits

Instead of promoting the main features of your solution, promote the value of it. 

Benefits are real. They’re grounded. When done right, they convey a world devoid of challenges. (At least the ones your audience experiences.) What’s better than that? 

Features are geeky and abstract. And really, who cares as long as whatever you’re offering solves a problem? 

Check out this example from Sidekick by HubSpot, an email tracking software that also provides insights, scheduling, and just about anything else you could think of. 

Screen_Shot_2014-12-04_at_8.08.39_AM

The benefit here is clear. I know exactly what I’m getting from this report. More importantly, the message clearly aligns with a common pain point of anyone who finds themselves on this website in the first place. 

Who doesn’t want to learn more about sending better emails? 

2) Convey empathy

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.” Ralph G. Nichols, author of “Are You Listening?”

It goes without saying that before you can convey empathy, you first need a deep understanding of the challenges and interests of the people you serve. 

Empathy is about radical connection. It’s about people saying, “man, this company gets me.”

Take Simple, an online banking platform focused on the modern web and mobile experience, for example. 

Screen_Shot_2014-12-04_at_8.09.31_AM

You hear people complain about their banking experience all the time. Transfer fees. Minimums (the worst!) Overdrafts. Monthly fees. Automated customer service. 

Simple’s solution is a great alternative, but if they weren’t so great at conveying empathy for the experiences we all have, would their message be as effective? 

Bonus points: Check out how politely they ask you for your email address. 

3) Be brief 

Brevity is powerful.

It’s focused. 

It’s quick (duh.)

Like Dropbox

png-3-2.png

All my stuff, everywhere? 

Sounds great. 

That was quick. 

4) Provide social proof

Social proof appeals to people’s sense of “safety in numbers.” 

People feel safer doing something only if others have done so first. Volume is a factor here, too, as if there’s an overwhelming number of people who have done it, people’s “fear of missing out” inclination kicks in. 

But social proof isn’t just about attaching the number of shares a page has gotten. Check out how HubSpot effectively uses social proof to promote blog subscriptions. 

Screen_Shot_2014-12-04_at_8.14.13_AM

Wow. 

Over 300,000 marketers have subscribed to this blog? If I haven’t subscribed already, this statistic alone is more persuasive than any other content on the page for getting me to do so.

I’m a marketer, so clearly I’d be missing out. (Note: I’m already a subscriber. Highly recommend you subscribe as well.) 

5) Introduce scarcity 

Famed psychologist and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Robert Cialdini

It’s one of the oldest tools in a marketer’s tool belt. Every infomercial in history leans heavily on the “call now” or “limited time only” tactic for increasing sales. 

As a result, you have to be careful here, as you can go from persuasive to shady really quickly. 

Noah Kagan, founder of OkDork and Facebook employee number 30, utilizes scarcity with the right balance that gets people (myself included) to sign up for whatever he is promoting. (His email list numbers over 700,000.)

Screen_Shot_2014-12-04_at_8.14.57_AM

Notice how he still provides value? This is unimportant, as relying solely on scarcity can come across as shady. But coupled with a free 30-day course focused on teaching me the secrets for doubling my email subscribers? 

I’m in. 

6) Create a knowledge gap 

One of the most proven ways of drawing an audience in is by introducing a knowledge gap, one that piques their curiosity, and then shows them how to fill it. 

Chip and Dan Heath, bestselling authors of Made to Stick, describe this phenomenon as follows:  

“We can engage people’s curiosity over a long period of time by systematically ‘opening gaps’ in their knowledge – and then filling those gaps.” 

More simply, it’s natural that we all want to learn about things we perceive to not know now. 

Here’s how Unbounce, the landing page builder for marketers, employs this tactic. 

Screen_Shot_2014-12-04_at_8.15.42_AM

Common misconceptions that are killing my landing pages? 

What?! If they’re common, there’s a pretty good chance I could be committing them too, right? 

Well, now I need to know. 

7) Promote exclusivity 

The top level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is “self actualization,” or how we view and feel about ourselves. 

We all want to feel important. More importantly, we need others to affirm this for us. 

Wheaties claims its cereal is the “breakfast of champions,” or how L’Oréal says, “because you’re worth it, “ – this affirms how certain people view themselves, either as champions or beautiful. Now they’re more likely to buy the product, as “this is what people like me buy.” 

Here’s how Litmus applies this in a B2B setting. 

 Screen_Shot_2014-12-04_at_8.16.29_AM

I like to think of myself as an email marketing pro, therefore I subscribed to this newsletter long ago. 

I mean, isn’t that what people like me do? 

8) Align button text with benefit

It’s easy to neglect the button text on a landing page, but rest assured, this is important copy.  

The button is either the first or last step required for someone converting on a page. Either way, these are both critical points on the conversion path. 

Take this example from Dressipi.com, originally detailed on Copyhackers

By making the simple switch away from the unoriginal “Sign Up Now” button text…

Screen_Shot_2014-10-10_at_1.20.10_PM.png

To the more enticing “Show Me Outfits I’ll Love,” Dressipi.com saw an increase of 123.9% in clicks. 

Screen_Shot_2014-10-10_at_1.19.10_PM.png

Aligning your button text with the actionable benefits of your offer can greatly increase the chances of a click-through. 

With persuasiveness comes great responsibility

When you’re marketing a product you believe in, persuasion is not a dirty word at all; it’s a responsibility. 

I believe in the solution I’m marketing very much. It’s a responsibility for me not only to find the people who need it most, but also to successfully articulate how we can help. 

Are you like me? Are you marketing a product or service so helpful that you believe in it with every fiber of your being? 

Great. You’ve got some work to do, then.

New Call-to-action

 

Dec

4

2014

How to Evoke Emotion on Your Landing Pages (Without Going Overboard)

emotion-on-landing-pages

Emotion is a major force in online sales. As much as we tend to disparage “emotion” in purchasing decisions, the fact is everyone thinks and makes choices based on emotion.

We can’t prevent this. Emotional decision-making is hardwired into our brain’s functionality. In fact, without guidance from our emotions, decision-making would be nearly impossible.

Not only is it appropriate to use emotion in your landing page, but it’s essential for the decision-making process. That being said, you don’t want to go overboard. In this post, I want to show you is how you can use emotion in the most effective way in your landing pages.

Know your audience’s emotional needs.

The first step to using emotion in a landing page is discovering the emotions that will make a difference in your audience’s actions (assuming that you already know who your customers are). Every purchase and conversion is a driven by the customer’s emotional need.

  • If you are selling arthritis relief cream, your customer’s emotional needs are for relief.
  • If you are providing consulting services for office organization, then your customer’s emotional needs are for control or stress relief.
  • If you design outdoor living spaces, then your customers want relaxation or enjoyment or respect from their neighbors.

There are a basic set of human needs and desires. All you need to do is identify which of these emotional needs your customers have. Then, you use the techniques described below to tap into those emotional needs on your landing pages.

Use images of people.

As a general rule, pictures have the most power in affecting emotion. But what types of pictures are the most emotionally powerful?

Pictures of people. We are drawn to such pictures because we can identify with the person in the picture. We see emotion in their eyes and in their faces and in their body language. In a way that is both immediate and unavoidable, our emotions are affected by what we see.

1zooisclosed

Image from reddit. 

Landing pages that use pictures of people can affect the emotions, too — perhaps not in a tear-jerking way, but at least in such a way that the user will feel something. And because of that feeling, they decide to convert.

Pictures of people are remarkably effective. Usually, these people are expressing an emotion that the user is supposed to feel.

eHarmony uses a picture of two people who are obviously in love. The user, looking at this picture, may also feel the pangs of romantic emotions, and then want to look for a match.

3eharmony

Evernote’s landing page pictures a woman who looks confident, organized, and in control. These are emotions that Evernote users-to-be may want to feel, too.

4evernote

This isn’t just some psychological gimmick. Humans tend to mirror one another’s attitudes and actions. When you look at images of someone who is exhibiting a certain emotion, you will experience that same emotion to some extent, too.

Use colors that cause the right emotion.

Color plays a major role in our emotions. Over 20 years ago, studies found that children with violent tendencies will relax and calm down when placed in a pink room. Hospital researchers have discovered that replacing blue-tinted lighting with gold-tinted lighting makes medical staff feel soothed. More recently, researchers have also found that creative inspiration comes more often to people who work in rooms that are painted blue.

Color affects our attitudes, emotions, and actions. It’s most powerful effect, however, is on the emotions, which in turn affect our actions. 

Conversioner’s color wheel outlines some of the ways in which we are affected by the colors we see.

5emotional

Image from Conversioner.com

I’ve strategically selected an orange color scheme on part of my site’s landing page. It’s an upbeat, attention-grabbing color. I’m looking to partner with optimistic visionaries, and this color is exactly what I need.

6neil

You’ll improve the emotional connectedness of your landing pages if you use a color scheme that brings out the emotion that you want your users to experience.

Focus on benefits to provide gratification.

Users want benefits. They already know what they need, how much it’s going to cost, and where to find it. What will tip the scales in their decision? It’s the benefits of the product or service that you are selling.

To be emotionally effective, landing pages should be benefit-heavy and solution-light. Mention the solution only to inform users about what product or service you are selling. Focus on the benefits in order to connect most directly with their emotions.

Listing benefits is exactly what Pampers does in their diaper landing page. They give you a whole list of benefits. Notice how the language itself has emotional overtones — “comfort,” and “protection.” Every child’s caregiver wants her child to be comforted and protected. These words, loaded with emotion, will help encourage a conversion.

7pamper

Remind users of the pain to cause emotional avoidance.

Pain and emotion are closely connected. They share a common brain processing center, the cingulate cortex, and work in conjunction to tell the body how to behave in response.

We tend to respond to pain and pleasure with a far greater amount of emotional involvement than we do, say, to a more “objective” or non-urgent decision, such as whether to go to Olive Garden or Carrabba’s for dinner.

Pain demands immediate alleviation.

  • I need to go to the bathroom
  • I’m going to have this baby
  • I need to find a more comfortable chair
  • I need to get the spiders out of my house
  • I need to get a more reliable vehicle

Here’s the thing about pain, though. Someone doesn’t have to feel the pain to experience the same urgency or sensitive response. They only need to be reminded of the pain in a subtle way. When they feel that pain or are reminded of it, they are more likely to act and to convert. 

Since we’re talking about Carrabba’s, let’s see if they use pain in their landing page. They do — it’s a subtle and understated example of what a might pain reminder might be. In this page, they simply show a picture of food. This, however, may signal my pain receptors to the fact that I am hungry and need satiation.

8carrabbas

LifeLock wants their users to feel a little bit of the fear of losing their identity, so they subtly introduce this pain into their landing page.

9lifelock 

Don’t simply present the user with pain. Show them the pain, then present your product or service as the solution to that pain.

Use emotionally loaded words.

Specific words have emotional power. Using emotional words brings out the emotional power in your landing page.

Here’s how to use emotionally loaded words. Simply identify the emotion that you are targeting, then use words that elicit those emotions. This list of emotional words from PsychPage.com will help you identify the right words.

10words

It’s important not to overdo it with emotional words. As powerful as they may be, they lose power with overuse.

Here’s an example of not overdoing it. This landing page for Aruba vacations uses the word “happy,” a clear emotional marker that is designed to elicit a response:

11happyisland 

And here’s another. InsureMyTrip uses the term “worry-free.” Even words with a negative emotional response can be used in such a way that makes them appealing, and serves the goal of the landing page.

13insure

Words have emotional power. Choose them carefully, and use them wisely.

Conclusion

Don’t miss the importance of emotion. Jim Joseph, a contributor to Entrepreneur, wrote “A very important element to marketing that too many entrepreneurs overlook is finding your emotional benefit.”

Emotion is too powerful to overlook. Emotion underlies everything we do. You users need to not only see and understand what you are providing, but they need to feel it, too. Those feelings are what will cause them to convert.

How do you use emotion in your landing pages?

Nov

14

2014

9 Real-Life Conversion Rate Optimization Tests to Try Yourself

conversion_rate_case_studiesI don’t know about you, but I learn best by looking at examples. Learning formulas and high-level concepts only gets me so far — the real-world application is what makes things stick. 

But in conversion optimization, examples are especially hard to come across. Unless you know they’re happening or want to spend an inordinate amount of time Googling, you’ve got to resort to your imagination to devise new ideas for experiments to run on your website.

While I’m sure your imagination is very vivid, we figured we could do some of the research legwork for you. Below are nine fascinating case studies to inspire your next conversion optimization test.

1) Slide-in CTAs increased CTR by 192% and generated 27% more submissions.

Most successful blogs include a call-to-action at the end of their blog posts. It’s usually full-width — large enough for people to notice the offer and hopefully convert on it. 

But are people noticing that CTA, or are they learning to tune them out? 

Here at HubSpot, we were curious if our readers we developing static CTA blindness — so we decided to run a test to see if we could increase our CTA clickthrough and conversion rates without being a huge, annoying marketing jerk. 

To accomplish both of those goals, we decided to try using slide-in CTAs that would appear as soon as the right sidebar disappeared — usually half-way to three-quarters of the way through a post. Here’s an example of the slide-in:

slide-in-example

To test this out, we added slide-in CTAs to 10 of HubSpot’s highest-trafficked blog posts. A month later, we looked the following stats for the slide-in CTA and the static CTA at the end of the post:

  • Clickthrough rate (CTR) – What percentage of visitors clicked each CTA?
  • Conversion rate (CVR) – What percentage of those visitors who clicked ultimately converted on the landing page form?
  • Submissions – How many total leads did each CTA ultimately generate?

In this test, the slide-in CTA had a 192% higher CTR and generated 27% more submissions — mission accomplished.

2) Putting the form below the fold increased conversions by 304%

It’s one thing to talk about a conversion "best practice" (placing something above the fold) — and it’s another to see it debunked in real life. 

ContentVerve.com was the one to debunk it all. To test this best practice, they put a CTA alllllll the way at the bottom of a very long landing page. 

cta_below_the_fold

The result? 304% more conversions on the below-the-fold CTA.

Take that, best practices. This is a great reminder that you should always test out tactics like this yourself, no matter how often they’ve been recommended.

3) Aligning landing page copy with referring source increased leads by 39.1%.

On the flip side, sometimes A/B test can uphold long-held best practices — that’s exactly what happened in this test by Optimizely.

Before they began experimenting, Optimizely was running a few PPC ads with several different types of messaging to one landing page. The landing page did not use the same terminology as the ad — instead, it read "Try it Out for Free." Below’s an example of what this whole process roughly looked like. 

online-marketing-symmetry-control-1024x662

So Optimizely decided to test if aligning the copy on the landing page to the ad resulted in more leads generated:

online-marketing-symmetry-vairation-1024x629

And the treatment worked: It resulted in a 39.1% increase in leads generated.

So if you’re looking to optimize your cost per lead in your own PPC campaigns (or increase the effectiveness of any other type of referral sources), try aligning your landing page copy and referral source copy.

4) Changing a form headline and including information verification symbols on a form increased the number of qualified leads by 140%.

Usually, the answer to getting higher quality leads is to increase the number of form fields — that way, only the truly committed (and usually most qualified) candidates will take the time to fill out the form. 

Iron Mountain found a way to do it without adding a single form field. Instead of adding more fields, they changed the headline of the form from "Contact Us" to "Request a Quote," and used custom Javascript to validate the form information before people submitted it.

iron-mountain-variations

And the two changes worked — Iron Mountain got 140% more qualified leads with this new form copy and design than they did with the old. 

Truthfully, this change makes sense. People who are going to take the time to fill out the right information to receive a quote specifically are probably going to be better fits for your business. 

Makes you want to learn some code so you can start tweaking forms yourself, huh?

5) Removing social media share buttons from a product page increased clicks by 11.9%.

Most marketers think that the more social media share buttons, the better your conversion rate will be, right? 

Taloon.com actually found the opposite to be true. They wanted to get more people to click "Add to the Cart" on their product pages and wondered if removing share buttons would help increase conversion rates.

taloon

Spoiler: It did. Removing the social share buttons increased clickthroughs on the main call-to-action (add to the cart) by 11.9%. 

The lesson here is that social proof can work if there are already people sharing something — if there’s no one sharing your page, it could hurt conversions.

6) Removing the blog sidebar and including an in-post form generated 71% more leads.

Most blogs look very similar — top navigation, body of the post on the left, and a right-aligned sidebar with extra information. What if this typical format was turning off people from converting?

IMPACT thought it might, so they decided to put it to the test. After removing the sidebar, they used a standard CTA on one post and an in-post form on another — both for the same offer. 

in-post_form

In this new blog design, the in-post form performed way better: It generated 71% more leads.

Maybe this is something you should try on your blog, too. Full disclosure: We’ve tried a similar test on this blog, and it didn’t show the same results. 

7) Clever copy converted 18% more website visitors.

While most conventional landing page copywriting advice will tell you that straightforward copy is the way to go.

For Copyhacker and JDC Repair, that didn’t prove to be true. JDC Repair is a while-you-wait iPhone repair store catering to image-conscious teenagers (and their parents) who’ve broken their iPhone screens — and this audience could be the type to appreciate some coy copywriting on a landing page to schedule a repair appointment.

So they decided to test very clear, value-driven copy with one that’s a little more fun:

clear-vs-clever-test

Image credit: Unbounce

And the fun one won: 18% more people scheduled a repair appointment.

Again, another lesson in "you should always test things out for yourself." Maybe your audience loves fun copy, too!

8) A smiling person increased conversion rates by 102.5%

A few years ago, 37Signals was trying to make drastic changes to the page layout for Highrise (which has since been spun off into its own company). They first tested a longer page design with more descriptive copy. The result: 37.5% increase in conversions.

test_1_highrise

The next test blew the first out of the water. They made the page shorter than the original and added a lovely photograph of their smiling customer in the background. 

test_2_highrise

This time, the page got 102.5% more conversions. Even after doing further testing using different photographs of different customers, the results held up: Photographs of smiling people worked.

Who knows if this’ll work on your landing pages, but at least you have some data to help you debut your modeling career on your company’s website. 😉

9) Removing product feature details increased Chrome extension installs by 28%.

This story comes from the Sidekick team at HubSpot. They’re constantly testing to see how they can use their homepage to generate new active users — and this test helped them do just that.

Previously, their homepage included a list of all the features Sidekick has: 

  1. See Who Opens & Clicks on Your Emails
  2. Schedule Emails to be Sent Later
  3. Access Valuable Information About Your Contacts

But they were curious to know if those detailed actually mattered — for a product as low-touch as a Chrome extension, do people need to the feature laundry list to convert into active users? 

So they decided to replace the feature list with a few user testimonials. Here’s what that treatment looked like: 

sidekick_homepage

Sidekick ran this test until it was statistically significant, and found out something very surprising: The testimonial beat out the feature list by 28%.

Their theory on why this change took place? The former didn’t make people curious enough to click through to the Chrome Extension installation page. I’d also venture a guess that people could have wanted more social proof before downloading a new tool into their browser. 

Regardless of the reason, this worked — and it might work for your company, too.

What awesome experiment have you seen companies do? Share your favorites with us in the comments.

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