10 Factors to Test that Could Increase the Conversion Rate of your Landing Pages
As founder of a company that helps its clients maximize their web site and landing page conversion rates using multivariate testing (an advanced form of testing in which multiple variables that affect your conversion rate are tested at the same time), I am in the fortunate position of being able to monitor the variables that consistently tend to produce the largest increases in the conversion rate of a landing page, across all our clients’ sites in many different industries and categories.
Based on an analysis of a number of tests that we’ve conducted for our clients, here’s a shortlist of the 10 variables (in no particular order) that you should test on your landing pages that can produce large increases in your conversion rate. A few of the recommendations I have made here will be quite controversial (because they often go against what many gurus recommend and what many marketers believe), but these are all based on actual tests that we conducted for our clients.
1. Long Copy vs. Short Copy. Conventional direct marketing wisdom is that long copy always wins over short copy. Well, not always. Our tests show that while long copy wins over short copy in some cases, short copy performs better than long copy in others. Of course, a lot depends on the quality of the copy. So the only way you will know what’s going to work for your site is to test it. Don’t automatically assume that long copy is going to work better for your site – no matter what some copywriting or online marketing gurus tell you.
2. Credibility Logos. Signing up with organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Hacker Safe and displaying their logos on your site can often significantly increase your conversions. But, don’t assume that this will always be the case because in a test that we did for one of our clients a while back, adding a logo of the BBB reduced conversions. So, make sure that you test these logos before adding them permanently.
3. Security Assurance in Order Form or Shopping Cart. Test whether adding a few lines of content somewhat prominently in your order form or shopping cart page assuring visitors about the security of their financial and personal data increases conversions. This often proves to be a very important variable especially if your target audience tends to be somewhat older in age, or somewhat new to purchasing things on the Internet.
4. Banner Present vs. Not Present. Landing pages must always have a good-looking banner at the top, right? Wrong. In several tests, we found that removing the banner led to a large increase in conversions. My guess is that this happens because the banner distracts people’s attention from the headline. However, in one test that we did, removing the banner led to lower conversions. So, if you’ve got a banner, test whether removing it increases or decreases your conversions.
5. Submit Button / Order Button Text. If you’ve got a short copy landing page, then testing the text used in the Submit button or Order button is a must. A lot of people who have a landing page with a form use the word “Submit” as the caption of the Submit button. Our tests indicate that you may be able to get a large increase in conversions by testing a more descriptive Submit button (like “Download Now”).
6. Audio Message. A lot of online marketing gurus recommend that you add an audio message welcoming people to your site and explaining what your product does. While this can definitely significantly increase your conversions in some cases, we’ve often seen this reducing conversions significantly as well. So if you are planning to add an audio message, make sure to test it first to determine whether it is really increasing your conversion rate. And if you already have an audio message but had not tested it when you had added it, see if removing the audio message increases conversions.
7. Testimonials. Adding as many testimonials as possible to your landing page always increases conversions, right? Not so. We just finished two tests where adding testimonials didn’t help. In one case, the landing page already had a lot of testimonials. When we added even more testimonials, it reduced conversions. In the second case, the site’s shopping cart page didn’t have a testimonial. When we added a testimonial to it, it reduced conversions. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add testimonials, but make sure you test whether adding them is really increasing your conversions. Don’t blindly add every testimonial that you get from your customers.
8. Urgency. Is there an incentive for people to order from your website right now instead of postponing their purchase until later? If not, you should test an offer (a discount, a free gift, etc.) that is linked to a sense of urgency so that your customers order right away instead of deciding that they need more time to think about it. No, don’t even think of giving them a discount if they order by “tonight, midnight.” Not many people fall for that old trick anymore. Make sure that the urgency is credible and realistic. In fact, if customers perceive that you are trying to trick them into ordering quickly, that might reduce your conversions.
I’ve saved the two most important variables for the end.
9. Headline. You probably already know that the headline can have a huge impact on your conversions. Our tests have shown the same. Along with the price, the headline tends to produce the maximum increases in the conversion rate of a landing page. So make sure that you test your headline to find out which headline will work best.
10. Price. This is a no-brainer but it still surprises me that so many online marketers don’t bother to test the price of their products to find out the price point that will maximize their profits. Instead, they simply set their price based on what their competitors are doing (or worse, based on gut feel) and as a result, they end up over-pricing or under-pricing their products.
In test after test, we’ve found that testing the price by itself often increases revenues by 20% or more. And in many cases, we’ve found that a higher price not only increases revenues but also increases the actual number of orders because of an increase in the perceived value of the product.
While the 10 variables mentioned above are not the only important variables that you can test (there are many others), these should be enough to get you started. So how should you go about actually testing them?
If you have the budget, you should use a multivariate testing software to help you test all these variables at the same time. If not, use an inexpensive A/B split testing script in order to test a single variable at a time. Keep in mind, however, that depending on how many orders your site produces every day, it can be months or longer, before you can finish testing all these variables with A/B split testing. So, if you have the budget, always opt for multivariate testing over A/B split testing.