Tomorrow I will be headed out to Austin, Texas (keep weird!) where I will be giving one-on-one landing page consultations at WhichTestWon The Live Event. We are WTW award-winners and huge fans of Which Test Won here at ion, so we are super excited to spend some quality time with #awesome brand marketers at the event.
During my consultations I will be walking through 25 ways to evaluate conversion elements within any landing experience — homepage, product page, landing page or mobile-optimized experience — to drive new testing ideas, hypotheses and actionable next steps for optimization.
The key takeaway: the best landing pages are conversion R.E.A.D.Y.
R.E.A.D.Y. is an acronym that stands for the five dimensions of great, conversion-focused landing experience: Relevant, Engaging, Authoritative, Directional and Yield Optimal. A relevant landing experience gives visitors exactly what they expected when they clicked. Engaging experiences communicate your value proposition in a compelling, differentiated way. Your pages should be authoritative, assuring people that you’re trustworthy and reliable. Visitors also need to be moved steadily toward their (and your) goals; thus your pages should be directional. In addition to these user-centric objectives, your pages should also be yield optimal — incorporating operational best practices to maximize your conversion rate. By evaluating the effectiveness of these five elements on you can immediately identify areas of opportunities and begin prioritizing your testing.
Just as fashion has evolved over time, so should your landing experiences. Unless you’re Google or The New York Times, almost no one begins an online session on your site. They arrive at your doorstep from some other context — a search query, an ad on another site, a click-through from an email or a shared link in a social network. It’s up to you to make their ‘post-click’ landing experience relevant to who they are, where they came from, and what inspired them to click in the first place. Are you giving visitors what they want? Do you even know what they want? Time to start testing!
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Things to test:
1. Message match — test your headline to improve message match and engagement. Check out: 5 Types of Headlines to Test on Your Landing Page for more headline testing ideas.
3. Design match — test a more visually cohesive experience from your email or banner to your landing page. Don’t worry, redundancy is appreciated, rather than excessive in this instance.
4. Visuals — test people imagery versus product imagery. Test directional cues — both implicit (direction of gaze, color, etc.) and explicit (arrows, curves, etc) to help guide visitors towards the desired action. Test icons against photography. Test, test, test.
5. Language — it is important to play to audience identity. Test tailoring your pages to the characteristics of the people who visit. The University of Texas Arlington uses authentic nurse imagery, job-specific terminology and “you” language to provide a highly relevant experience to their target audience.
Need more inspiration?
Check out five more examples of relevant landing experiences.
What makes a conference fun isn’t necessarily the event itself. Often, it’s the communal nature of learning, networking and having great conversations with your peers. When you’re trying to convert people — into a lead, a sale, or for some other concrete action — you need to be more than just relevant. You also need to be engaging as well. Typically, bounce rate is a good metric for measuring engagement. Decreasing bounce rate often leads to increases in conversions as well.
Things to test:
6. Value proposition — probably the single most valuable element to test. Your value proposition answers the questions “why should I buy from you instead of them?” Creating a list of features is easy, but great landing page copy sells visitors on benefits, not features. One of the first techniques you can explore is transforming your major features into benefits. Write down your top five features and ask yourself, “what problem does this feature solve for our customer?” Then, test each as your headline.
7. Real & tangible benefits — see above! MarketingProfs tested a benefit-driven headline and saw a 28% lift in email sign ups.
8. Emotional appeal — incorporate a story, an insight, a mood into your messaging
9. Persuasive content — focus specifically on why users need your product or service
10. Design — radically re-imagine the user experience, focusing on intuitive, user-centered design that communicates value
Marian University lifts conversion rates over 264% with radical landing experience redesigns
Need more inspiration?
Check out five more examples of engaging landing experiences.
Trust is a critical component of all relationships. So now you’re relevant and engaging — congratulations! But before people will do business with you, they must also trust you. Your pages should exude an authoritative aura, one that establishes you as a credible source for your offering.
Things to test:
11. Trust assurances — test the impact of adding a telephone number to your page (if it isn’t there already) or test placement and visual emphasis of customer-centric policies (100% satisfaction guarantee) and trust marks (BBB, Truste, Verisign, etc.)
12. Credibility — test using specific numbers and verifiable facts instead of fluffy claims
13. Context of use — provide evidence of how a product or service solves a real problem. Test showing your product in the hands of a user. Test a product video or a virtual tour.
14. Social proof — social proof comes in many shapes and sizes — expert, celebrity, user, and wisdom of crowds and wisdom of friends. Expert proof relies on the expertise, education or approval from a credible source. Celebrity endorsements can obviously yield high impact social proof, especially if unpaid. The only way to know what resonates with visitors and drives engagement is to test.
15. Brand consistency — definitely a best practice, but something that can be tested as well (especially if you are creating campaign landing pages). Test a standard brand look and feel against a campaign-specific look and feel. Check out some of my favorite campaign-themed conversion paths from Overland Storage.
Various campaign-themed landing experiences from Overland Storage
Your landing pages need to be directional. You want targeted landing experiences that move your visitors forward smoothly to their (and your) objectives. Think about a chalkboard on sidewalk advertising free appetizers at happy hour.
Things to test:
16. Call-to-Action — CTAs are definitely low-hanging fruit. Minor tweaks to button design and copy can result in conversion lifts. If you are offering content (white papers, webinar, guides) in exchange for lead information, you should test different offers to see what content drives the most (and the most qualified leads).
17. Choices — executed properly, post-click segmentation reveals people’s preferences, intentions, and audience segments. Test providing a small number of choices that are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive.
18. Removing distractions — test simplified segmentation (see above). Test without navigation! Remove distractions, remove navigation.
19. Additional motivation or incentives — test offering supplemental content as adding incentive
20. Progressive conversion — test breaking up your lead form into multiple steps. This works especially well for long or tedious forms. Don’t forget to pay off each step with relevant and useful information.
Two step form identifies sales-ready leads for CDCNews
The best landing experiences get results. Yield optimal refers to a deeper level of the landing experience that visitors never see — it’s about your use and implementation of testing and other conversion optimization best practices.
Things to try:
21. Post-conversion engagement — test micro-conversions on your thank you page. Provide relevant content, links to additional information, social sharing or an upsell to see if you can further engage and build rapport post-conversion.
22. Data-driven hypotheses — use data to uncover potential testing opportunities and establish concrete hypotheses. Every test plan should include data that supports your testing hypothesis.
23. A/B & MVT testing — if you are still practicing sequential testing, please stop now. You need a testing platform for split testing. There are too many variables that can affect the results of sequential tests. The only way to test is to do it in real-time. Check out our Buyer’s Guide to help find the right testing platform for you.
24. Putting testing requirements in place — make sure to put testing requirements in place. Whether it be a minimum level of statistical confidence, or a test timeframe, make sure you are setting yourself up for testing success: concrete hypothesis + testing requirements + a/b testing tool = analysis-driven next steps.
25. Analysis-driven next steps — piggybacking off of data-driven hypothesis testing, analysis-driven testing is based on behavioral data and analysis of “click behavior.” You can test your gut, but data-driven next steps are often the most successful.
Our 25-point R.EA.D.Y framework helps you identify areas of opportunities for testing and optimization. It was designed to help you ask the right questions about your landing experiences, to see how page elements relate to each other, and to stay focused on what’s most important in driving conversions.
Bookmark it. Print it. Use it daily!