Do you enjoy A/B testing? Or is that a weird question?
Do you check your test results every morning, getting excited when you see your results getting closer and closer to 95% statistical confidence?
When I first started experimenting with website optimization a couple of years ago I never would have thought I could enjoy it as much as I do. Sure, the topic doesn’t exactly thrill at dinner parties, but I love coming up with a hypothesis that could make our business money and proving it (or, occasionally, having it blow up in my face).
Because that’s really what we’re doing here. Landing page optimization makes our businesses money. Increasing conversions on your page by utilizing the strategies I’ll give you below can increase your business’ revenue by thousands of dollars overnight.
So yes, it is serious business. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun.
This article will get into the little details that can make all the difference. I’ll give you five variables to focus your tests on, and provide examples of each in the real world.
Let’s get rolling.
1. Eye Direction
All five of the variables I’ll give you in this article influence your landing page traffic subconsciously.
We don’t land on your website completely aware that the psychology behind your chosen colors is influencing us. We don’t, for instance, consciously recognize that you’ve formatted your CTA button to be as eye-catching as possible without being visually unappealing.
But nonetheless, we are influenced by these small details. In fact, these small details dominate how we behave, and whether or not we’ll convert.
One of my favorite variables is that of eye-direction. You already know that you should be using an image with a person on your landing page, as it makes your business more relatable and visually appealing overall. What you might not know is that where that person is looking can have a serious effect on what your visitor pays attention to as well.
Check out this example of eye-direction from QuickSprout:
You’ll notice that in the first image, the model is looking straight ahead, and the eye-tracking software (yellow, green and red) reflects that traffic to that site focuses on her eyes and the value proposition only.
However, in the second image, the model focuses her attention on the shampoo to her right. The software clearly shows an (entirely unconscious) tracking of her sight-line by the visitor and a re-focus on the shampoo itself.
Well, it turns out that humans attribute a huge amount of importance to eyes. They are almost always (female chests being the most notable exception) the first thing we look at when we see a person. It also turns out that we are phenomenal at tracking that individual’s eye-direction (left over from when we needed to know where a predator was in the tall grass by watching the eyes of our friends). We do this just as unconsciously as we focus on the eyes.
2. Encapsulation, contrast, and white space
You have a single second to encourage your landing page visitor to stick around. Absolutely this is accomplished with a beautiful, eye-catching image (I recommend a smiling, non-model looking at your USP or value proposition) and the persuasive headline.
But it’s also done by the small things; it’s done by the little tactics that ensure your value is noticed by your visitor.
This is why I recommend against paragraphs. They make it difficult for people to see, without putting effort into it, the value you can bring to the table.
You need to put time and energy into making your landing page as intuitive as possible. Remove all barriers between your traffic understanding how awesome you are and how influential you can be in their business’ success.
Here’s just one way you can do that:
The image above is one of four benefits (mini-USPs) on the Wishpond product landing page. There are four detail-oriented variables that make this an optimized part of the landing page:
- Eye-grabbing bullet point: On the white background of the product page, the Wishpond blue stands out and attracts the eye. I also like the small, relevant icon that helps communicate the message.
- A simple, short, and easy-to-understand value proposition in large text.
- White space between the benefit and the four additional points helps the benefit stand out.
- Bullet-pointed benefit list: Although these four points are easily skippable, for those who want that little bit more information they don’t detract from the overall appeal of the page.
For more about encapsulation, contrast and white space, check out my article on the science and psychology behind a successful landing page.
3. Keep it simple, keep it optimized
Landing page optimization, at its heart, is about striking a balance between giving your visitor enough information that they’re sold on converting, and not so much they’re overwhelmed and bounce out.
You will all have visited a landing page that just seems not to end, and another that, you think, cannot be the entire thing (Kissmetrics, I don’t know how you do it):
The image you’re seeing above is 95% of Kissmetrics’ entire landing page (only cutting out the buttons “Features” “Pricing” and “Blog” buttons on the bottom left.
This is how important testing is, because some markets respond differently. I’d love to be able to tell you that your landing page needs to have 327 total words. I’d love to be able to tell you that your headline should be 64 characters, your benefit list should comprise four individual points and your image should be exactly 630 pixels wide by 493 pixels tall.
But I can’t.
What I can tell you is this:
- Eliminate distractions: Your landing page should have a primary focus, a primary ‘Ask’ that you want to achieve
- Keep your CTA above the fold: In fact, keep all your primary focuses (main image, USP or value proposition) above the fold.
- Less is generally more: I’d recommend starting with a minimalist landing page and then adding variables, rather than the other way around.
- Colors matter: Most B2B companies find success with blues, whites and grays. It’s likely you will too. Rather than mess around too much with your background, go with a simple color-scheme and test the image, CTA coloring, and encapsulation colors.
4. Customer Testimonial Details
Nobody even buys a T-shirt online anymore unless it’s been reviewed by over 100 people and has at least 4.2 stars. Your web traffic has never entirely trusted you (after all, you have a somewhat vested interest in your own product). But your previous customers? Now, they’re just people like your web traffic!
The customer testimonial you choose is a big deal. Some audiences will respond more to your biggest names, while some will like Regular Joe’s opinions. Some will need a revolving album of headshots and quotes, while others will only need a single testimonial. All audiences are different, so test it out for yourself!
Here are three details you can test within your customer testimonials themselves:
1. Headshot: A headshot image from your quoted customer makes them more believable and trustworthy (and therefore makes you more believable and trustworthy). I’d even recommend you test having your customer testimonial be your primary image for the landing page (and their quote, your USP)
2. Give specific details: A customer testimonial that says “In 6 months I increased my landing page conversion rates by 242%” is far more valuable, and believable, than one that says “AcmeLandingPages are awesome and my favorite ever!” If you are going to go with the specific customer testimonial, I recommend you find a case study with realistic results (rather than outliers that are unlikely to ever occur again).
3. Test going counter-intuitive: Unsurprisingly, the most believable customer testimonials are the ones that don’t sing your praises from the top of a mountain. You may find more success with a testimonial that’s not so positive.
Try something like this:
- “I was skeptical at first, but was pleasantly surprised when we started to see a 75% increase in site traffic within the first week!”
- “AcmeSaaS isn’t for everyone, especially international corporations with hundreds of thousands of individual merchants, but my small-business fit perfectly and we generated qualified leads immediately!”
- “Though the results didn’t happen overnight, with the help of AcmeSaaS’ awesome customer service team we were able to iron out the kinks. And, after the fourth iteration, we suddenly saw our ad click-throughs jump 240%. Thanks to Lucy in the customer-success department!”
Top Tip: Just like the smallest details can have the largest effects on your landing page’s conversions rates, so too can the language you use. For more on the importance of using the right language in your landing page, check out my article “Landing Pages: Using the Language that Converts”.
5. Get specific
If you think we’ve gone specific above, you haven’t even gotten started yet.
Sometimes it’s literally the smallest variables (like putting your CTA button on the top right instead of the top left or changing that button’s color from light green to dark green) that have the most amazing results.
For instance, check out this case study:
Our Hypothesis: Pre-highlighting the ‘Your Email’ entry box will increase conversions on the page.
Our Reasoning: Every step that you can take out between your landing page visitor arriving and your landing page visitor converting should be taken out. Highlighting the ‘Your Email’ box removes a crucial step.
Our Result: The variation with the highlighted entry box increased conversions on the page by 56.4%, with a 99.2% statistical probability.
The page was converting at 27.1%, and is now converting at 42.4%. Depending on how far you want to go with this, feel free to calculate the revenue increase resulting from this small change:
If the landing page sees 5000 visitors a month and their average monthly payment is 75 bucks or so, how much does a conversion rate
Yeah. That’s why – 1683 words ago – I said this was fun.
I wrapped up this article with that case study to show you how the smallest changes to your landing page really can have a real-world effect on the success of your business.
Landing pages are the face of your company. The difference between an optimized landing page and an unoptimized landing page is that one of them greets you with open arms and a smile and the other makes you cross to the other side of the street and increase your walking pace.
- Landing Pages: Using the Language that Converts
- Landing Pages: The Fundamentals and Conversion Principles
- Landing Pages: How to Sell without Selling
- Landing Pages: Three Landing Pages Critiqued to Hell and Back
- Landing Pages: The Science Behind Designing for Conversions
Have you been pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised by an A/B test? What were some of your hypotheses, and how did they pan out? Start the conversation below!