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How 3 baby steps boosted our landing page conversion rate from 19% to 39%.

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How 3 baby steps boosted our landing page conversion rate to 39%.

Disclaimer: The following results are not typical. The 3 steps we took to increase conversion rate may help you but our results are exceptional and should not be considered typical.

Sometimes you don’t need much for big results. Sometimes it only takes 10 minutes. And sometimes it’s so easy even a baby could do it.

Here are the results of a little A/B test we conducted last year. We managed to increase our landing page conversion rate from a good 19% to a great 39%. You can use what we learned to increase your own conversions — fast. These were very little quick fixes, they took less than 10 minutes to implement and to be honest we were quite surprised with the results.

Results

The test was conducted with the late Google Conversion Optimizer (I miss that tool). It resulted in a 105% increase in conversion rate at 97.9% level of confidence.

Landing Page Conversion Rate Test Results

Original Landing Page

Original Landing Page

We thought we had already done a great job with the simplicity of the page. The 19% conversion rate was satisfactory. Little did we know were selling ourselves short.

Winning Variation

Landing Page Winning Variation

As you can see, the winning variation was very similar to the original, but with 3 distinct changes that made all the difference.

This page is still live: Tenscores Demo

Like 3 little inconspicuous pigs.
Have you spotted them yet?

There are exactly three components differentiating those two pages. Two tweaks, one addition. Those three components worked together to strengthen the marketing message and make it more effective.

I. The “How To” Headline

From sales pitch to education.

The “How to” words hold a promise to the reader that they’re going to learn something valuable. It turned a sales pitch into something more promising: education. Most people would rather learn something than read your sales pitch.

The educational component was already part of the marketing message but it wasn’t prominent enough. Highlighting it in the headline itself with the “How-to” words made it the central piece of the message.

This can be used in almost every situation. If you want to teach your customers about how you’ll make their lives better with your products and services… by all means, insert the words “How to” in your headline. It will entice your readers to pay attention to what you have to say.

Notice the headline of this article. If you’ve read this far, there goes proof that it works.

II. Shorter copy

We shortened the content text to 1.5 lines instead of 5. Straight to point. No more, no less. Sometimes longer copy works. Sometimes shorter copy works better.

Sometimes a headline is all you need.

Rule of thumb: for healthy conversion rates, keep the copy length proportional to the commitment you’re asking your vistors to undertake.

Copy length vs commitment

An email adress is not a big commitment. Shorter copy works better. So rather than asking your visitors to read your long sales pitch, tell them what’s in it for them in a few words, then tell them what to do next. That’s it.

If you ask for a name, email, phone number, physical mailing address you might want to add more copy to explain why you need all that info and why it’s going to be worth it for your visitors to give it to you.

If you’re asking for a sale, as in you want someone to take out their credit card and give you money (which is one of the hardest thing you can ever ask someone to do), you will need to give them a whole lot of reasons to do so.

It is hard to get someone to pull out their credit card. Really hard.

That’s why some, like us, hand hold our customers through baby steps… first we ask for email, then we give you a ton of value, until you’re comfortable trying out our product. Works really well.

III. The “Certified” Badge

Credibility. Authority. Proof. All for the sake of TRUST.

I always remember this video when I think about this topic:

We made a big promise… but why should anyone believe us? Your potential customers are thinking the same about you: “Who are you anyway?”

There’s a right and wrong way to use logos:

The wrong way to use logos & badges
Slapping up logos that have NO direct relationship to your promise. A logo that has no meaning to your potential customer is just an image on a page.

The right way to use logos & badges
The logo adds weight to what you’re promising. Whatever form of proof you put up on your website, it has to say one thing about you: “YOU ARE TRUST-WORTHY!”.

And it has to be something people recognize… or else it has not weight whatsoever.

In our case, the Certification logo added a layer of credibility and authority. The wording on the badge says “Certified AdWords Partner”. That is in direct relation to what we’re promising.

Essentially what the badge says is “Hey, we’re AdWords experts and here’s the proof,  you can trust us”.

Here are few surefire ways to make your prospects trust you more:

  • Customer logos
    If the customer is Sony or Google (well known brands) that’s an endorsement to wave all around. If your customers aren’t well know brands, use them in quantity to show social proof (better than nothing).
  • Customer testimonials
    They have to be in direct relation to the promise. Have your customers accomplished what you promise? Show it. It’s even better when your customers are famous brands. Then you use their logo with the testimonial.
  • Badges
    If you’ve been accredited in the areas you’re advertising for then that will put enough weight on your promise to make it attractive.

A “how-to” in the headline, shorter copy and a badge were enough to double our conversion rate. These three elements are most likely well known to you, so well known you may sometimes neglect their importance and dismiss them. Hopefully, with this post you’ll always be testing new ways to make them stronger. But you have to test. Always.

In God we trust.
All others bring data.

Those were the words of Edwards Deming.

The biggest mistake you can make, one that I still manage to make every so often (I should know better) is to NOT test. Don’t go using a “How to” headline just because you saw our results, test it yourself rigorously with your favorite A/B testing platform and have data to support your decision making process.

Here’s a list of recommended A/B testing platforms:

The one we’re using currently is Optimizely and it’s been great so far. There are many others, here’s a pretty exhaustive list. But I really miss Google Website Optimizer.

How about you?
What are the little things you do to increase your conversions?

About Chris

Co-founder of Tenscores. Online advertising druid experimenting daily, learning by the minute.
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  • Alex

    Great stuff. Can I ask you a question about the landing page though? Surely it contravenes Google’s policy on information harvesting and other LP quality guidelines such as navigation? How was it approved?

    • http://tenscores.com/ Chris

      Hi Alex, great point. The page doesn’t contravene Google’s policies. It would if it didn’t have what you see at the bottom…

      See the details:
      http://tenscores.com/demo.php

      It doesn’t show on the screenshot but there are links to business info pages, among them is a privacy policy that states what we do with users information. The navigation part is not a requirement, just a guideline. I rarely include a navigation on my ppc landing pages (not great for conversions).

      I didn’t mention this in the article but you assumed correctly that the traffic was from Google Adwords. It was indeed for a display network campaign. No approval problem.

      Chris

      • Alex

        Thanks for replying Chris.

        I did visit the demo page didn’t see the links at the bottom – you need a keen eye for that :)

        All good to know, so thanks again for your reply.

        Best,
        Alex

        • http://tenscores.com/ Chris

          You’re welcome. We also received your feedback video. Awesome! Whole team loves it. Will get back to you on that and what we need to do to improve the timeline.

  • http://twitter.com/deepfootprints Joel Chudleigh

    Hi Chris
    Great results – well done!
    Just thought that i would mention that the Google conversion Optimiser is still live and well in Google Analytics if you want to use it.

    • http://tenscores.com/ Chris

      Thanks Joel. I know about content experiments in analytics, I just don’t like what it has become. I preferred a stand alone platform, not something I have to dig in analytics to find. You can’t do multivariable testing, can’t have more than 12 active tests, tests can only last 3 months, etc… the list goes on. I don’t understand why Google likes downgrading their products.

  • Yuri K

    Hi Chris, thanks for posting your A/B testing results. It would be great to know how much each fix changed the conversion rate. For example if you’d only change the title etc..
    I used to use Unbounce for my landing pages, and lately discovered Pagewiz which is easier and cheaper to use. I use it for building and optimizing my pages, so I can change the content while the test is running. Is it there any benefit in using only the optimization tool such as Optimizely, without the landing page creator? Will it increase my conversion rates more?

    Yuri K

    • http://tenscores.com/ Chris

      Hi Yuri. It would be nice to know indeed. Unfortunately it wasn’t a multivariable test where each part of the page is tested individually. It was a simple A/B.

      Any tool you use to do your A/B testing is fine. Unbounce is a good tool. I don’t use unbounce simply because I like coding my own landing pages, so I don’t need their lp creator tool.

      What will increase your conversion rate is your discipline in testing and some skill to know what to test. I always recommend people to read the conversion rate experts blog: http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com/blog

      They have excellent detailed case studies. I’ve learned a lot from them.

  • John

    I see this post was from two months ago, I just wanted to ask did you ever get your account suspended for information harvesting?

    • http://tenscores.com/ Chris

      Nope. Google calls it “information harvesting” if that’s the only purpose of the site, meaning the whole website exists for no other reason than to collect user information. In our case, and many other advertisers cases, there’s a known business behind it and we provide a privacy policy detailing why we collect the info and what we do with it. Google has no problem with that.