Your Guide to Landing Page Optimization

The Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages - Chapter 4

Once you’ve finished creating a landing page you’re proud of, you probably have a deep sense of satisfaction. And you should! It’s well-earned.

The work that you’ve put in on the front-end will continue to pay dividends as you generate more leads and customers. Right now, you’re probably thinking, “Onward to success!” And that success will indeed come.

When you go to start creating your very first landing page, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Landing page builders can feature widgets, options, integrations, icons and images. And even though many of them feature different templates to match a particular need, it can even be difficult to select the correct template to build a high-converting landing page for your specific industry.

But the most important element of achieving that success—that we haven’t covered so far—is the process of optimizing your landing pages through the use of testing. Landing page optimization and conversion rate optimization are so important, because slight changes on a single landing page can dramatically impact your conversion rates. That affects your long-term results, and inevitably the revenue for your business.

No matter how you’re driving traffic to your landing pages, you’re working for it. Whether it’s through content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, or paid advertising, you’re going through a lot of effort to get eyes on your landing pages.

Now just imagine if that same amount of traffic—that same amount of money and effort you’re investing—generated even more leads and sales than you’re seeing right now.

Sounds pretty good, right?

That’s exactly what landing page optimization is for. If you can squeeze a 1% improvement into your conversion rate, just be making some tweaks to your landing page, that’s 10 more customers out of every 1000 visits your page gets. Add more traffic and those numbers climb even higher. And who wouldn’t want that?

In this chapter of The Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages, we’re going to talk about the basics of landing page testing and conversion rate optimization. It’s not as scientific as it might sound, and it’s certainly not difficult. If anything, it’s exciting to start planning and working towards small changes you can try that just might produce big results for your business.

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Conversion Rate Definition

To begin, it’s important to agree on our universal definition of what a conversion rate is.

Your conversion rate is the best measurement of success for any landing page you create. It’s also relatively simple. Conversion rate is measured by dividing the number of visitors to your page who took action on your landing page, by the total number of visitors to your page.

So for example: if 3,000 people visited your landing page, and 450 people signed up to attend your webinar, then your conversion rate would be 15%.

450 Conversions ÷ 3,000 Total Visitors = 15% Conversion Rate

Knowing what your conversion rate is will help you know exactly how effective your landing page is. It’ll also be the barometer you’ll use to improve the quality and effectiveness of your landing page over time.

At Leadpages, we often get asked, “Is my conversion rate good?” or “What does a good conversion rate even look like?”

Unfortunately, there’s no single good answer for this question. That’s because there’s no standard baseline for what a “good” conversion rate is. Conversion rates can heavily fluctuate based on a wide variety of factors, like the type of traffic you’re driving to your page, the price point of the product you’re selling, your content or design—to name a few.

But regardless of the exact number of your current conversion rate, almost every landing page can benefit from conversion rate optimization. What is conversion rate optimization? Well, in it’s simplest form, conversion rate optimization is about using intentionally iterative testing to improve the effectiveness of your landing pages.


What is A/B testing?

A/B testing—also often called split testing—is one of the most common forms of testing done in marketing. That’s partially because it’s also one of the most simple. A/B testing occurs when two landing pages, web pages, or emails are pitted against each other, in a bout to see which one is more effective in getting users to take a desired action.

An A/B test is accomplished by creating two separate versions of a landing page, web page, or email, that differ slightly in one specific area, and sending an equal portion of your traffic to each version. Once a representative population of users has been driven to both Option A and Option B over a long enough period of time, the version with the higher conversion rate is determined to be the winner in the A/B test. At Leadpages we declare a winner when one version of your page outperforms the other by over 90%, which helps determine that a winning result is not due to chance.

Often, A/B testing is done in succession, one after the next, in order to continue testing different specific elements of a particular page or email. This sequential optimization is a process, but it’s one well worth it. Untested and ineffective landing pages can yield 1-2% conversion rates, while tested, optimized, and effective landing pages can perform exponentially better. Sometimes, in cases of 10-50% conversion rates, or even higher.

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What is multivariate testing?

Multivariate testing is similar to A/B testing, in that it allows you to see how effective pages or emails are in comparison to each other. The difference though, is exposed in the title—multivariate testing has multiple versions, more than just an A and B version, allowing for more diverse testing.

Multivariate testing is more like A/B/C/D/E testing, where you can create many versions that will test a variety of elements on your pages or emails—and eventually a winner will emerge. While more complex than A/B testing to set up and execute, one of the benefits of multivariate testing is you can vett many versions of a landing page or email in a shorter amount of time. This in turn, allows you to arrive at the best iteration of your content even faster.


What can be tested on a landing page?

The fastest and easiest answer to, “What can be tested on a landing page?” is really: “Anything you want.” It seems nonspecific, but it’s true. It may not always lead to an increase in your conversion rate, but essentially, you can test almost everything you can see on your landing page.

As you envision ways to improve your conversion rate, consider these ideas when it comes to elements of the page you’d like to put to the test. Remember, a few optimizations of just one or two of these elements on your landing pages can pay out huge dividends over time.

Landing Page Copy

What you say, and the way you say it, can be interpreted differently by different people. This is especially true when it comes to the written word. That’s why one of our favorite things at Leadpages to test is our landing page copy. In fact, the first thing we usually test here in our headlines. We love finding new ways to describe offers, and seeing how different language resonates with our landing page visitors.

When you’re evaluating your own landing page copy, ask yourself:

  • Could my headline be more enticing?
  • Is there a way to write out my offer so that it’s more clear?
  • Should I add more text explaining why my offer is so valuable?
  • If I wrote a guarantee somewhere on my page, would visitors feel more comfortable taking action and responding to my offer?

These questions can give you a good place to start when you’re looking to A/B test your own landing page copy, to discover which words are most effective.

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Landing Page Images

At Leadpages, we love to use images on our landing pages. For example, when we’re hosting a webinar, we’re excited to show you photos of the real people you’ll be hearing from during these online trainings. In a similar way, we tend to add images to our opt-in, sales, or video pages.

There’s a good reason for that. Landing pages that use images properly are often more aesthetically pleasing, provide a better experience for your visitors, and inspire visitors to take action and respond to offers.

Whether you use pictures of real people, images of scenery that match your product, business, style, and aesthetic, or icons and logos, imagery is often a solid addition to any landing page. That’s also what makes images worthy of testing.

Think of it this way: if it’s worth adding to your page at all, it’s probably worth testing different iterations of it. Different imagery can be effective for different audiences, so you’ll want to experiment, of course. However, we’ve found something as simple as changing a bio photo that expresses a different emotion can impact conversion rates.

That said, always be willing to add, remove, change, expand, or contract the imagery you’re using on a landing page. You never know how it might affect the conversion rate of your landing page.

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Landing Page Buttons

Any marketer who has experimented with web pages or landing pages wishes there was a perfect call-to-action button in the world. That single shape and copy combination that would elevate conversion rates and get the sale every time.

Unfortunately, that perfect combination doesn’t exist—at least not universally, anyway. But you can find the ideal optimized call-to-action button for your specific audience if you test enough buttons for your particular landing pages.

While we can’t give you the perfect recipe for the ultimate button, we recommend changing and testing the elements of your own buttons as you optimize your landing pages.

  • Button Color - While color is a topic of contention, in terms of its effect on conversion rates, it is true that buttons that stand out more will often receive more attention, and can drive better conversions. Try adjusting colors when testing, and see if you can create attractive buttons that also stand out from the page.
  • Button Size - Similarly to changing button colors to attract attention,, you can also change the size of your button to ensure it’s easily noticeable to your visitors. But be careful with your button sizes. Too big and your buttons may seem overwhelming. Too small and your buttons may be missed. Consider testing different button size options to arrive on the one that connects best with your audience.
  • Button Text - The actual text on your button is the last thing your visitors will read before they decide to take action on your landing page—or they don’t. That means this text is definitely worth testing. At Leadpages, we recommend using text that reminds visitors of what they stand to gain if they click.
  • Button Shape - The shape of your button will likely have the least impact on your conversion rate. However, you can still try out different shapes like buttons with squared corners, rounded corners, or fully circular sides creating a pill shape.

Landing Page Colors

In the world of marketing, web design, and conversion rate optimization, there’s an ongoing debate surrounding how much color actually affects conversion rates. Reason being, some people argue that color psychology plays a big role in a user’s experience on your landing page.

Other people think using complementary colors, and different colors to make page elements stand out, is the only way that color really impacts conversion rates.

We’re not here to argue either side, as much as we’re here to say: give both a shot.

For example, if you test a green header on your landing page versus a red header, and the red header converts 20% better in an A/B test —great! You just proved that a red header is optimal on that specific page, for your specific audience (at this time). That doesn’t mean you should use red headers on every landing page from now on. It means you should keep testing and see what works for individual pages.

Be pragmatic about color use. Essentially, just make your landing page appealing to look at and test color usage over time. If there are noticeable conversion rate increases based on changes in color that you’ve sufficiently tested, then good for you! Go with them!

Landing Page Length

Another testable part of your page is the overall length. This isn’t just about the copy that you’ve written for your landing page. It’s also about the elements you choose to keep or remove.

For example, many studies have concluded that adding customer testimonials to a landing page give visitors higher levels of confidence and they tend to take action on your page. But we’ve also seen case studies where removing customer testimonials, creating a shorter page, has also increased conversion rates.

The best length for a landing page can also depend on what you’re offering. For example, if you're giving away a free ebook in exchange for someone’s email address, you may just need a headline and some short copy. If you're selling an in-depth coaching program at a much higher price point, you may need more copy, visuals, descriptions, videos, testimonials, etc.

Page length can also depends on your audience too and how well they know you, and how much they’re aware of what you're offering prior to seeing your landing page. Their degree of familiarity can greatly change the best length for your page.

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation here. It’s just important to note that increasing or decreasing the amount of content and the number of elements on your landing pages can affect your conversion rate. And that means, it’s worth testing.

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The 5 Steps to a Successful Landing Page Test

Now that we’ve got a solid definition of what your conversion rate is, examples of common landing page tests, and some ideas of what can and should be tested on your landing pages, let’s talk about executing a test.

The steps of a successful landing page test is a lot like the steps of the scientific method. If you’ve forgotten that particular section of middle school science (as I certainly had) the scientific method essentially goes like this:

  • Have a question you want to investigate.
  • Create a hypothesis related to your question.
  • Complete an experiment that will test your hypothesis.
  • Gather data from your test, communicate your results, and repeat.

Whether this general framework is being applied to scientific research or towards improving your landing pages, the intention is the same.

Decide one thing you want to change, successfully test only that one thing, and then apply what you learn from that test.

Let’s dive deeper into each of these elements for the exact steps you should take to create a successful landing page test.

1. Ask a question.

To begin testing a landing page, it’s important to start by objectively asking questions about it. Even if you’ve just finished building your landing page and put a lot of work into the copy and the design, it’s essential to remember that it can always get better.

Probing your landing page with general and increasingly more specific questions is a fantastic way to start improving your page. For example:

  • What might a first-time visitor not understand when they land on my page?
  • What if I tested a different headline that offers more information?
  • What if I added a picture of myself (or other people) to this page?
  • What would happen if I swapped out the background colors?
  • What if I added a countdown timer to my page?
  • What would happen if I changed the color of my call-to-action buttons?
  • What if I changed the text on my call-to-action buttons?
  • What would happen if I added testimonials?

These general, but increasingly focused, questions will give you ways to think differently about your landing page. Ask as many questions as you can. The more you ask, the more you’ll see trends in what you think can be tested. And this will prepare you to create your hypothesis—which is coming up next.

2. Make a hypothesis.

Once you’ve asked enough questions, it’s time to select one that you believe you can test, and will benefit you most. Then, you’ll create a hypothesis from that question. You can only truly test one thing on your landing page at a time.

Why is that? Well, if you put two completely different landing pages up against each other in an A/B test, one will inevitably perform better than the other. However, if these pages have a variety of different elements, such as different images, different copy, and different colors, then it’s impossible to know which element (or elements) made one page perform better than the other.

That’s why your hypothesis should revolve around one specific element of your page, and what you think you can change to make it convert better. For instance:

  • I believe my page will convert better if my headline were more specific, and included my limited time discount in it.
  • I believe my page will convert better if my buttons are purple instead of the yellow color of my headline text.
  • I believe my page will convert better if I remove the distant picture of the coffee shop and add a smiling picture of someone drinking coffee instead.

Remember, you can test as many hypotheses as you want—just not at the same time. Pick one hypothesis you think will be beneficial, and then get ready to execute your test.

3. Execute a test.

This can be both the difficult and easy part of optimizing your conversion rate. It can be challenging because you must decide specifically what elements to test against each other. However, depending on your split testing tool, this can also be a simple process to set up. For example, if you’re using a landing page builder like Leadpages, it’s easy to create this kind of split test in minutes.

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4. Determine a winner.

Most often, the tool you’re using to A/B test your landing pages should make it clear which option is the winner, after you achieve statistical significance Essentially, statistical significance just means that your A/B test has been running long enough and enough people have seen your landing page, that the results not the result of a sampling error or a random outcome.

There are some very complex ways of projecting and measuring this mathematically, but you more than likely don’t need to delve too deeply into the actual equations. Over anything else, you’ll need to exercise some patience and prepare to select a winner.

5. Rinse and repeat.

You did it! You’ve improved your landing page! You have a better version now than the one you started with. Next, you’ll want to start the process over again. Each time you execute a test, you’re adding more leads and sales to your business, so you’ll want to rinse and repeat as often as many times as is valuable for your landing page.

Take your improved landing page that won your last test, create a new hypothesis, execute a test, wait until you see statistical significance, and then start again. This process does take time and traffic, but just remember, with each iteration your marketing gets better and better and you’re becoming that much more successful each time.


5 Common Conversion Rate Optimization Mistakes

Now that you have a framework in place to help you go forth and test your landing pages, we hope you’re raring to go. But if you’re new to conversion rate optimization, and you haven’t done many landing page tests before, you’re going to make some mistakes. But don’t worry—this is entirely normal!

Just look at each mistake as a learning opportunity and keep on testing.

If you want to avoid some of the testing faux pas we’ve learned over the years, read through this list of five common conversion rate optimization mistakes, so you can do your best to avoid them.

1. Testing Too Many Things at Once

In their excitement to create the best landing page possible, people have been known to try testing too many things at once. This is often easy to do, because “testing too much at once” involves testing any more than one element at a time. The reason for this is, as we briefly mentioned before, you won’t know which element did or didn’t affect your conversion rate.

For example, let’s say you create a version A of your landing page. Then you create a version B of that page with a different CTA button color and shorter headline. If version B ends up performing better than version A, you won’t know which of those two changes was responsible for any fluctuations you see in your conversion rate.

That’s why we absolutely recommend only testing one thing at a time. That way, you can establish the impact of that single, specific thing on your conversion rate, before moving onto the next landing page element you want to test.

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2. Not Waiting Long Enough

This goes back to our section on statistical significance from earlier. Sometimes it can be hard to have the patience required to fully see your test through until you reach statistical significance and can declare a winner. If you’re doing an A/B test before running a big PPC ad campaign, it might be tempting to see a slight lift in conversion rate for version A and immediately crown it your winner, so you can get on with your big campaign. Doing this, however, is a big mistake.

Never jump the gun on an A/B test. Once you’ve gone through all the necessary steps of asking questions, creating a hypothesis, building a new page, and actually executing a test, you owe it to yourself to see the test through and make sure your results are fully representative.

Even though you might be tempted to end the test when version A or version B of your test starts pulling ahead, make sure you wait. Keep in mind: Just like in a horse race,the final winner isn’t always the version that was leading in the beginning.

If you avoid this mistake, you can ensure that your conversion rate will continue to climb with each new test because you know your results are as real as it gets.

3. Going Too Small

Even though you can run as many tests on a page as you want over time, you’ll want to see real improvements in your page with every test. That’s why it’s important to always test significant page elements.

When testing landing pages, some people are afraid to kill their conversion rate by testing a larger element of their page. They think, “What if this change is so big, it ruins the conversion rate I already have?” Because of this, they’ll change only very minimal, less consequential elements, like the color of a footer, a few words here and there, the size of an icon, etc. But these things won’t likely have sizable effects on your conversion rate.

Even though we’re big proponents of trying all kinds of tests, big and small, make sure that your hypothesis and the changes you’re going to make are worth the effort it takes to run a test. That leads us to the next mistake.

4. Being Afraid to Be Wrong

When testing a hypothesis, you are going to be wrong sometimes. It happens! At Leadpages, we A/B test every single one of our landing pages as well as most of the pages on our website. The hypotheses we test are often wrong—but being wrong is good! That’s just another point in your dataset that you can use to continue improving your landing pages.

People who are afraid to make a mistake won’t make progress. Their changes will be minimal and inconsequential. At Leadpages, we recommend you ask big questions, use data to make big hypotheses, make big changes, and then test big things. Doing all of these things can get you big results. Don’t get us wrong—sometimes small changes can also have big impacts, but you’ll never know if you’re too afraid to be wrong, that you don’t make big changes at all.

Continue being wrong and you’ll inevitably get better at being right. Each time that happens, your landing pages will improve along with your conversion rates. Improved conversion rates means more leads, more conversions, and more revenue for your business.

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5. Only Doing One Test

As we’ve mentioned previously in this chapter, conversion rate optimization is about iteration. If you do one A/B test and find that page A has a higher conversation rate than page B, that’s great news. But the process of optimizing your landing pages doesn’t end after one test. If you don’t continue to test, you’re more than likely missing out on incremental percentage points that you could gain on your conversion rate.

At Leadpages, it’s not uncommon for us to A/B test different iterations of a single page five or more times. The reason we keep doing it, is because we know it’s working, and we get a little better every single time. Even though it requires some work, that continuous improvement is worth the time and effort.


Conclusion

Creating high quality landing pages doesn’t stop after you’ve hit publish for the first time. Testing your landing pages is an essential part of a successful marketing campaign. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Remember, every test you execute is successful, because even if your hypothesis turns out to not be true, you’ve still learned something. You have a new data point that you can use when you go to create your next landing page.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just pick an element of your landing page that you feel could be better, and envision what that looks like. When you’re right, and your page improves, so will your conversion rate. And the work you put into creating your landing page will pay back exponential dividends when you put in the work to continue optimizing it, one test at a time.

Now that you know exactly how to start testing your landing pages, and optimizing that conversion rate, we’re going to talk about what it takes to get more eyes on your landing pages. Driving traffic is up next, where we’ll learn the exact methods you need to get more people on your pages, and create more leads and sales. That’s coming up next in the following chapter of The Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages.

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