- Advanced E-commerce Audit to identify any problem areas on product pages or during the checkout process
- Traffic Analysis to determine how users get to the website
- Speed Tests
- Development of in-depth customer personas
- Landing Page Analysis
- Testing Plan & Template to give your organization a roadmap of what to test and how
Advanced E-commerce Audit. As with all of our services, we start with an audit of your current process to determine what has worked in the past, what hasn’t, and to familiarize ourselves with every facet of your current structure.
Traffic Analysis. Do you know how users get to your site? I bet the answer is yes. How about this, do you know how your target users get to your site? When they visit and what’s driving them? We’ll take an in-depth look at your converters and tell you who they are and what’s attracting them.
Speed test. It has been well documented by Google that one of the major inhibitors of online conversions is page speed. In our mobile-first world, users simply do not want to wait 3 seconds for a page load. We’ll identify weak spots in your current funnels and where you can improve, with specific instructions on how.
Persona Development. Using our resources, we’ll identify your top-converting personas and research what’s making them tick. By having a more accurate representation of who your actual converters are, you can more effectively adjust your messaging across all channels accordingly
Landing Page Analysis. If you’re using them, we’ll review them and bring back suggestions for optimization. We cut our teeth on landing page optimization and we stay abreast of the latest studies. We’ll make sure you’re doing everything possible to increase those conversions.
Testing Plan & Template. After our work is done, we won’t leave you hanging out to dry. We understand conversion optimization is an ongoing process and not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. After our wrap-up, we’ll provide you with a plan for ongoing optimization and a template you can use to identify what works and what doesn’t.
What is Conversion Optimization (CRO)?
Guidance for e-commerce, marketing and SaaS directors, managers, analysts and specialists.
Working to ensure the best possible customer experience overall is key.
Conversion optimization needs to be driven by the specific goal of each individual page or customer funnel.
JeremySaid has developed a bona fide, structured approach to increasing revenue with our trademarked conversion optimization methodology.
Conversion optimization is one of the more commonly misused terms in digital marketing. It really should be thought of as an umbrella expression that represents many core processes. Unlike other common industry terms that represent a specific tactic or a series of steps to complete, conversion optimization is much more abstract. Trying to contain it within one uniform definition does it, and the reader, an injustice.
One core element of conversion optimization that most will agree on is that it’s about the user. Doing whatever is necessary for that user to have the best possible customer experience overall is key, and will ultimately lead to higher conversion rates.
Directors of e-commerce and managers of e-commerce sites have a tough job. SaaS digital marketers don’t have a cake walk either. These jobs require savvy and seasoned technical marketing skills, but have a very different set of everyday conversion issues with major impact on revenue, both negative and positive. Regardless, they are all vulnerable to the 2 p.m. “analysis paralysis” after an intense data review.
If you are an in-house marketer or part of an in-house marketing team that manages the e-commerce solution for your division, you know that conversion optimization is an absolute must for revenue growth. But at the end of the day, you can’t Google the phrase “conversion optimization” and be satisfied with what is there. Don’t take my word, try it.
If you actually go to the thousands of conversion optimization websites out there that try and define it for you on their services pages, you’ll see they say the exact same thing, but with their own baseless spin and unsound, unbacked arguments for their UVP and why you should call them right now.
Satisfy Your Users’ Needs First
The revenue demands from your higher-ups are going to require more than what you’ll find in a conversion optimization checklist from an industry blog or some quickly-put-together 30-minute web seminar. The sad reality is that most of those web seminars or blog posts are someone’s attempt to create a piece of evergreen content that was out of focus from the start and has since become outdated as well.
Conversion optimization is viewed by many as a systematic way to increase the percent of visitors who convert into customers, but it’s actually much more than that. Some define it a little better as getting someone on your site to take the desired action on a web page. That still falls short.
Conversion optimization is different for a director of e-commerce from what it is for a SaaS digital marketer or for any other digital marketer trying to increase bottom-line revenues.
Conversion optimization needs to be driven down to a funnel level or page level and focused on the specific goal of each individual page or customer funnel (which may be a series of pages). It should be laser focused on the user. After the user, then we can look at revenue. But without the user, we have no revenue.
No two sites are the same, not even in the same industry, nor is the user experience the same. A simple example of that is found in the user segments “new” vs. “returning.” Differences will also be device-driven. User experiences change, as well, according to intrinsic variables, like motivations, biases, education levels, etc., and due to extrinsic variables, like timing, location, income, world events, etc.
Case Study: Retailer’s $12,000 AOV Falloff
A big retail customer had us come in and sign 23 NDA’s (or that’s what it felt like), and then we started digging. Very quickly, we:
- Identified three different product types that had the highest single average order value.
- Identified the user segment as “return visitors” with no prior purchase history.
- Identified the day-parting segment as Monday through Friday (24 hours/day).
- Identified top user platform as Windows 7 and the browser as IE.
- Split conversion values between IE 10 and IE 9.
Immediately, we saw that users of IE 9 showed an average $12,000 revenue shortfall per product. But that was only half the battle. As we added up the total revenue loss for the three products, we started looking at each previous month, and the data told almost the exact same story. (It’s good to know a problem is not an isolated incident.)
There was a random comment during our initial discovery work (hence why it’s so important to dig and document) about an odd trend of these similar product types all coming out of the gate strong each day and then suffering a sudden sharp downward turn. When we focused our efforts to individual days, and then hours within the day, the data immediately showed a sharp drop in revenue after hour 13 of the 24-hour cycle. Fortunately, the client had video of several site-ranging user sessions. Once we isolated the user segment in the videos, it was very easy to see the problem. Seven people watching the video said “ah ha” at the exact same time.
After 1 p.m. each day, in IE 9 the submit button in the shopping cart was disabled. We validated this by going back up the segmentation drill just to make sure it was all Windows and all IE 9. Sure enough, it was. A problem in the code was immediately identified, which the client speculated to be a specific instance of malware initiated by a former disgruntled employee.
This was a problem with the site’s user experience. When a button didn’t work, potential customers didn’t try to find a way around the problem. They didn’t contact Customer Service. They left and most never came back.
An emergency change request was submitted within a few hours and, after some testing, the problem was resolved.
Your Conversion Optimization Problems Can Be Solved
First of all, any conversion expert shares your pain knowing that your boss’s goal of a 5 percent quarterly increase in average order value is as likely to happen as a Browns Super Bowl win. Regardless, you need an answer.
The reality is, this may not be as hard as you think. Now, we may never be able to stop the higher-ups from attending some of these bait-and-switch web seminars targeted at execs responsible for bottom-line dollars and revenue growth. But we have actually solved simple revenue issues for many e-commerce clients, often with the very first phone call.
On many occasions, we have uncovered several thousands of dollars of lost revenue, and have had a few isolated incidents of discovering anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 within a few hours of advanced data massaging, which can be done with any web analytics program. To do this, you have to understand where to look for the problems. This requires becoming an expert in a few very simple areas:
- Advanced user segmentation
- Quantitative analysis
- Online behavioral profiling.
After working with specific types of web data over the last 20 years, our data lenses are finely tuned to spot problems that we see time and time again. It’s almost as if the data just jump off the page at us. The secret to all of this user segmentation, however, is a qualitative (observational) cross validation after we spot what is broken. That’s the difference. We always answer the why, not just the what.
How We Define Conversion Optimization at JeremySaid
True, valid and valuable conversion optimization requires an understanding of how to merge different data sets as well as the fundamentals of the complex worlds of science, psychology, statistics and data analysis.
As stated above, conversion optimization is first being worried about what your users want and then considering how to optimize that user experience to increase site and/or page conversions (purchases, subscriptions, leads, etc.). Identifying each individual’s customer journey and their intrinsic motivating (and demotivating) factors represents the quintessence of conversion optimization.
We work to create a better user experience by tirelessly trying to understand how to reduce friction and anxiety for the user so they can feel confident in the experience they are having with the current page/site.
JeremySaid has developed a bona fide, structured approach to increasing revenue with our trademarked conversion optimization methodology. We never use a cookie-cutter solution for any business. The approach may appear similar, but our tactical assessments vary from site to site.
Through a very scientific approach, we figure out very quickly what the lay of the land is. We know what problems typically occur and how to quickly resolve them, but our discovery process is geared toward a documentation of your baseline.
We customize the workflow of our methodology using quantitative and qualitative tools and implement tactical tests or changes that we can immediately leverage, track and adjust to ultimately create conversion lifts. The workflow front-loads the analysis of the conversion tactics used, identifies barriers and dramatically reduces wasted efforts by narrowing down plausible test ideas.
The complexity of this methodology makes its nearly impossible to properly execute without a precise expertise both at a strategic and tactical level. However, this quantitative and qualitative framework’s simplicity in terms of the documented outcome makes it easy to evolve as new opportunities are presented through continuous validation. This is why we are so successful when hired to help a marketing team implement this process.
4 Common Industry Myths Demystified
We know what others think and say about conversion optimization. We know why sometimes they shouldn’t.
Myth: A quick route to conversion rate optimization is to adopt the industry’s well-defined best practices.
Fact: If there is one phrase that makes us slam doors and throw expensive cell phones to the ground, it is “best practices.” If you see this, hear this, experience it in any way shape or form when applying any variation of a conversion optimization methodology, run for the hills.
Following “best practices” is 180 degrees off from what’s required to ensure that your online marketing efforts fit your customers’ particular needs, likes, dislikes, behaviors, etc. There should be no “best practices” talk or beliefs in your foundational analysis, nor documented in foundational benchmarks.
Many people trying to become the next “conversion whatever” will jump on this “best practices” bandwagon as a sales tactic. You surely have realized by now that this is geared toward someone who is already doing conversion optimization, or needs to but lacks resources (time or people) and the expertise of a process methodology.
Myth: There are no magic templates, shortcuts or quick optimization techniques that can be implemented today with the expectation of an immediate improvement in conversion rates.
Fact: There are tons of moves you can make towards improving conversion rates that will have an immediate effect. Well, “tons” may be hyperbole; a search for “quick conversion optimization changes” shows that there are apparently somewhere between three and 30.
If that department meeting is coming up and you need to show that you are ready to kick butt and take names, reeling off a dozen changes to the site that are “guaranteed” to boost conversion rates ought to set ’em back in their seats. Just keep in mind what happens to one-trick ponies.
Truthfully, if quick fixes return consistent results that align even with micro KPIs, like email submissions, newsletter signups, downloads, etc., then run with them and consider yourself lucky. But what you may notice is that these blogs are mostly spitting heuristics – educated guesses – out at you.
Bigger headlines, stronger CTA, this color, that trust signal … If they are features you haven’t adopted or haven’t done well, you may well see an immediate result with them, maybe even a positive result. It may even qualify as “optimization” in some quarters, but there’s no shortcut to the analytical work necessary to create the optimal user experience for your customers, which is what you should strive to provide.
Myth: Your design team has a handle on conversion-centered designs.
Fact: Design is one component of functionality. In most cases, your designers are – by design, actually – looking at the big picture. They are not conversion rate experts.
God love a talented designer. We’d be lost without them. But making a site, page, ad, etc., look good and work well are, while related, not the same thing. Sometimes what makes perfect, it’s-in-all-the-books sense from a design standpoint simply does not yield results once it’s uploaded. Different customers shopping for different products and services online think and act differently.
There are some standard design rules and even current styles that should be adopted, but to determine what design elements will optimize your users’ experience you have to dig into the data, develop customer personas and wire frame models, and test multiple iterations. Otherwise, it’s just guesswork – plus your site’s hot new look.
Myth: Conversion optimization requires A/B testing, and we should always be testing.
Fact: A/B testing is an integral part of improving conversion rates, but there’s a lot of work to be done first. You need to go through a validation process to come up with an effective iterative testing process.
Let us turn to the book of Ecclesiastes. OK, stay here, actually. A/B testing has its time and purpose, as do all things. It’s a simple as this: what are you going to test? But more than that, what you test has to represent a worthwhile starting point – a baseline.
You can start to get a handle on a testable design, text, CTAs, etc., by following heuristic models, but they need to be assessed in light of what your analytics data and user personas tell you. Some heuristics are simply flawed. And once you work through the research and analysis to come up with a model, you need at least a second iteration so you can test one against the other. Only once you have gone through this kind of due diligence should you turn to A/B testing.
Our Best Conversion Optimization Guidance for You
What finally becomes a successful conversion rate optimization program for your e-commerce site or, more relevantly, your business’s individual marketing campaigns, will not – cannot – be plucked from off of the shelf somewhere. It will require intense study, modeling, and valid, meticulous testing.
Top Articles about Conversion Optimization
- Definitive Framework For Conversion Psychology
- The Conversion Optimizer’s Guide to Psychographics
- How To Sell To The Methodical Buyer
What you know as “A/B testing” should be thought of as “website testing.”
Testing results only matter if the data obtained are valid and can be properly interpreted and applied.
Website testing takes time and tests often fail, but failed testing is as instructive as test wins.
You’ve probably read or been told that A/B testing is the key to conversion optimization. Take one version, run it alongside another, see which one folks like better and, voila! – you go with the winner and the digit counters spin.
The thing is, A/B testing isn’t the end-all solution to conversion optimization. It’s also not something you can just jump right into, no matter how many blog posts you’ve read about “5 quick things to start A/B testing today.”
Technically, A/B testing is defined as a form of statistical hypothesis testing with two variants. As applied to websites, A/B tests are a type of usability or user acceptance testing.
In actuality, we should not even be talking simply about “A/B testing.” From a conversion optimization services standpoint, we should be using the phrase “website testing.” There are multiple forms of testing a website should undergo, and A/B testing is only one of them.
Here are some of the other forms of website testing:
- User Acceptance Testing
- Split tests
- Multivariate tests
- Full-factorial tests
- Performance Testing
- Stress tests
- Load tests
- Scalability tests
- Component / Functional Testing
- Database tests
- Configuration tests
- Compatibility tests
- Flow tests.
But since you know “A/B testing” and it’s one of the services we offer, you’re probably here to validate the fact that we excel in A/B testing. We’re tempted to tell you how we are different when it comes to website testing, why we are the best, and so on. But that doesn’t really move the ball.
Testing for Website Performance
As true and as succinct a definition of A/B website testing as is possible would call it a method of comparing two or more versions of a web page to determine which page performs better.
The key factor in our definition is the word performs. We can further define “perform” as producing quantifiable increases – purchase increases, revenue increases, subscription increases, more downloads, more signups … increases in conversions, i.e., whatever it is you want users to do on your website. Sometimes performance is even indicated by increases in click-throughs, though we consider click-throughs a lower-metric performance indicator.
We are frequently approached by marketing directors or others in similar positions who ask such questions about A/B testing as “what is the best way to test?” or “how can we get double-digit lifts every time we test?” or some other question that grew out of a blog post they read or a web seminar they watched.
The reality is, there is no good answer for any of these questions because every situation is different. There is no cookie-cutter answer for A/B testing, or any website testing, for that matter.
There is also a misconception that A/B testing is relatively easy and straight-forward, since at its most basic it compares two iterations of the same item. But just like with anything else we do in life, if we want to see good results, we have to put in the time and effort to make it great.
Many companies offer A/B testing as a service, and just as many others have a product that will do A/B testing for you. But at the end of the day, tools cannot and will not increase conversions for you. There are no shortcuts, especially when it comes to something as deeply rooted in statistical analysis as proper A/B testing is.
A/B Testing Fallacies and Mistakes
Many marketing veterans think “A/B testing” is just a buzz term, but savvy and technically minded marketers today use testing to gain insights directly into online user behavior. Understanding what resonates with your visitors in order to create a better user experience will almost inevitably increase conversion rates in targeted campaigns.
However, an often overlooked secret is that anytime you create a test in which your hypothesis fails, it provides equally powerful insight about that user segment. It tells you what not to do (assuming that you have followed a proper methodology when performing your tests). What not to do can be as valuable as, if not more valuable than, a winning test.
The more information you can document from testing, the more insight you can obtain about a specific user segment, and the more value you can bring to the organization about your online users as a whole.
A scenario we often see is the desire to build test ideation strategy based on what a competitor might be testing. When we hear clients talk about this, the first thing that comes to mind is wanting to introduce them to Terry Tate, the office linebacker, especially when they say things like, “Let’s test some button colors like our competitors are doing.”
To further the point, here are some questions to ask if someone suggests testing what a competitor might be testing:
- How did their goals align with the test?
- What were the results of that test?
- What initially fueled that test?
- How difficult was it to implement based on their back-end technology?
Some other very common mistakes in A/B testing that we often see include:
- A/B tests called way too early. It takes time to obtain enough results data.
- Tests that are not run for at least two business cycles (varies per industry).
- Tests based on an improper hypothesis or unrealistic expectations.
- Failure to segment users when testing.
- Not understanding that failed tests can be huge wins in terms of understanding user behavior.
Common Myths About Testing Shortcuts
It’s natural to want to get things like testing done and to move on to posting content that will draw more users and revenue. Unfortunately, proper testing demands time and focused attention.
Myth: Marketers’ instincts are better than A/B testing results.
Fact: Have you ever met a marketer? Ha, just kidding. Actually, any professional marketer worth their salt can tell you that, sure, they have instincts and ideas based on experience, and they can make a correct call now and then. But they’ll also tell you that they don’t move forward with anything until they’re set up to track and test how it does.
Everything starts with an instinct or an educated guess, also known as a “heuristic assumption.” Even if it’s an idea you swipe, you adopt it based on the belief that it will perform for you. But you don’t really know whether it’s performing until you see the numbers, and you don’t know what the numbers mean if you don’t have another set of data that provides the basis for a valid comparison.
Myth: A competitor did an A/B test on their “buy button” and got a 30 percent lift with the winner. We can do the same. Heck, we can just do our version of their buy button.
Fact: Not only will the winner more than likely fall flat on its face for you, the test that has sold you on this “winner” will probably bomb if you try to replicate it.
Consider that you and your competitors share the same customer base. Though they all come from the same pool of people, there’s some reason your customers shop with you and why some prefer the other guys. It’s partly the difference in your product, and some of it has to do with marketing and your ads, website, etc. But a lot of the difference is due to the customers themselves. It’s the old “different strokes for different folks” maxim; they prefer one or the other because of who they are and/or because of any of the countless number of things that influence their decisions.
You can set up an A/B test to present Button One and Button Two for your customers to choose from, but it must do so in consideration of your customers’ influencing Factors C, D and E, on through to X, Y and Z. You need to test according to a valid customer persona to get results that are illuminating about user experience on your website. You also have to test long enough to obtain enough data to ensure statistical confidence in your results.
Myth: You should have winning tests at least 50 percent of the time.
Fact: If you have wins – tests that show a measurable preference – more than 25 percent of the time, you are a testing rock star. Agencies like to tout that they can get wins 40, even 50 percent of the time. Anyone who has worked in this industry knows that testing wins are a lot like batting averages in baseball. If you have a lifetime batting average of over .300, then you are doing a fantastic job.
The problem is that there are dozens, if not scores or hundreds, of factors on a website that affect conversion rates. But not all of them have that much of an effect. The better planning and ideation sessions you have before testing, the more likely you are to test factors that relate to your goals and result in a statistically significant outcome. These decisions are easier when they are based on quantitative analyses of existing web analytics data, and experience in testing and website optimization across multiple e-commerce and SaaS fields.
A/B Testing is Far More Complex Than Its Name Implies
You can’t just jump into A/B testing without a goal for your campaign and a valid customer persona, and expect to benefit from whatever your test results tell you. For that matter, you’ll need a solid understanding of user segmentation and data substantiation to know what your test results truly mean. Though it’s often described as simply as an “either-or” proposition, for A/B testing to be useful toward conversion optimization requires a deeper understanding of statistical analysis than can be gleaned from a landing page, blog post or web seminar.
Landing Page Optimization
Following someone’s “expert” tips and tricks will not optimize your landing page.
To optimize a landing page is to make it as good or effective as possible for the specific users it is meant for.
Landing page optimization is an ongoing process only undertaken after developing a solid UVP that targets a valid buyer persona.
Landing page optimization is a phrase almost all marketers will search at some point in time, regardless of their technical acumen. The plethora of data supporting this claim is overwhelming.
Landing page optimization is often referred to in our niche as a service, when in reality it’s a conversion optimization tactic that targets a specific page within a specific campaign.
As always, our quest is not only the “what” but the “why.” If the concept of landing page optimization is by our definition nebulous, why is there such a disconnect inherent in the search intent of seasoned marketers who know they are probably going to land on some site that offers tips and tricks? Tips and tricks, for that matter, that are baseless, often misleading ideas that almost always pertain to a very specific user segment and customer journey.
There may be a simple explanation as to why landing page optimization is often thought as of a service vs. a tactic.
Most of us who use the Internet seek free information and/or hope to get a quick-fix answer to a question that may actually be a very complex issue. In reality, the information we find typically provides a mere Band-Aid, even though our internal expectation is that we will find the magic bullet.
Sadly, there are few magic bullets in this life.
A Quick-and-Easy LPO Fix is No Fix
Whether you need quick answers to a current conversion problem you think stems from a landing page flaw or you are looking for an expert consultant whose only job is to get results and help you grow as a marketer, you are starting in the right place.
If you are here, you are at the top of your research funnel trying to look for the right consultant (not agency) to hire to fix an immediate problem or help implement a long-term proven approach to what you believe is a landing page optimization problem.
You’ll find that several conversion shops around the globe focus heavily on landing page optimization. There are several theories about that, one being that most marketers tend to believe that it’s the most important part of the conversion optimization process. From a logical standpoint, that argument might hold true. Let’s look at why:
- The landing page is the final stage before the last conversion piece on the site, the ultimate macro goal or call to action. Typically this means revenue. If, however, you are optimizing for leads, you could be turning on faucets of leads and getting them, but with few to no conversions resulting in revenue.
- You can get quick wins by focusing on one landing page versus the entire site. If you qualify that statement a bit and hone in on the PPC side of inbound, then you might get away with saying, yes, you should focus on this one page in a PPC campaign. But in reality, how many people hit one page of a given site and are ready to convert? That’s a tough sell in any market.
- Many marketers believe that landing page optimization is a result of A/B testing and you can’t have one without the other. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A/B testing is a process that is part of landing page optimization. Conducting A/B testing and using the “winning” iteration is not the be all and end all of landing page optimization.
Someone who knows a little about landing page optimization can jump right in, go down their checklist and make recommendations that will often create double-digit lifts immediately. Most will agree that having experience is one of the key factors in obtaining optimal results. However, being an “expert,” per se, is not necessarily knowing 100 percent of the time what to do but, more important, is being able to identify pitfalls before they happen. This saves a ton of time and money in the long run.
The Reality of Landing Page Optimization
You might run into a few dead ends if you look for a definition of “landing page optimization” online. You’re likely to find a decent definition of “landing page,” something like “a website page to which visitors arrive via paid or organic search or a direct link, and at which product or service descriptions and a direct solicitation urge the user to take some action,” i.e., convert. But the “optimization” part of the definition is typically implied with a list of bankable things a consultant can do for you instead of being spelled out.
The problem is thinking of LPO in terms of “optimization” as a noun, a thing to sell. Instead, let’s look at is a verb, an action to take. How shall we optimize your landing page?
Merriam-Webster tells us that to optimize is “to make (something) as good or as effective as possible.” Others tell us that, in the computer world, to optimize is to rearrange or rewrite (data, software, etc.) to improve efficiency of retrieval or processing.
If you’re the user of a landing page, would you prefer it to be as good or effective as possible, or that it is efficient in retrieval or processing? Probably both, all in all, but being as good or effective as possible serves a website user more directly.
Landing page optimization means to effect opportunities for conversions on a web page by fulfilling the needs of users/customers attracted to the page through paid or organic search, a link or another direct referral.
A potential customer who comes to your landing page should be able to quickly and easily:
- Recognize the subject of the page as what they were looking for,
- Comprehend the unique value proposition of the specific product(s) or service(s) described on the page, and
- Understand and complete a response to the page’s call to action.
The hitch is that we’ve boiled down eleventy-million user thoughts and actions (give or take) into those three bullet points.
Some concepts that contribute to landing page optimization, which are consistent throughout most conversion services sites that you will come across, are:
- Headline optimization
- Hero image optimization (visual representation of your product)
- Proof points in the copy
- Form optimization
- Third-party endorsements (trust elements).
The first three, you’ll notice, are about the page’s descriptive content. The bullet points refer to technique – big headlines with subheads; sharp, professionally produced images; case studies, academic studies and other copy to back up what you’re saying – but the content itself must all support and promote your unique value proposition, or UVP. If you do not have a well-defined UVP that is codified for the specific product or service that your landing page is about, you are shooting without a target.
And the UVP starts not with the product, but with the customer, or buyer persona. You must understand who it is you’re trying to reach and provide the value of your product to, who it is whose needs you will fulfill if only they will answer your CTA. Developing a valid and usable buyer persona requires understanding (i.e., researching) a variety of demographic and psychographic data about your customer base and validating it (i.e., testing).
Only then can your content, from headlines to body copy, bullet points, photos, CTA, forms, design, etc., be created so that your landing page targets your potential customers for this specific campaign and makes them understand how to make the conversion you are seeking, and why it is to their benefit to do so.
And this is why we say landing page optimization typically occurs late in the overall conversion optimization process. Of course, in many cases a consultant can help you by correcting any obvious missteps on your landing page, punching up your content and testing some alternatives to provide an immediate boost to your conversion rates. But a truly optimized landing page requires more than that.
Landing page optimization should also be an ongoing pursuit. Remember, it’s about the optimal user experience, which is as good or effective as possible. There’s always room for improvement.
For that matter, what works well in tests today may prove a failure when you test it tomorrow. Your customers change, as do their needs and desires. These can be driven by a myriad of economic or social influences. Sometimes technology changes, allowing us to do things online that we were unable to make happen before. Sometimes a new idea emerges, just something no one thought of before that makes perfect sense to everyone.
Regardless, if you are intent on optimizing your landing pages, never think of the word “done.” It’s a process to return to again and again, and then again.
A landing page optimization expert who tells you these X-number of changes, additions, tweaks, etc., are what you need to do to your landing page so you can start counting your added conversions and the money that flows in behind them is doing you a terrible disservice.
3 Common Landing Page Optimization Myths
Everyone has one or more landing pages, and everyone has ideas about what to do with them. Not everyone is right.
Myth: You can just change the colors on your landing page and watch conversions zoom.
Fact: There’s a famous study, which we’ve referred to just like so many others have, in which Hubspot changed a site’s buy button from green to red and conversions jumped by 20 percent. If you see a lot of red buy buttons, including yours maybe, that’s probably why. But prior to that study, Unbounce declared that the big orange button was the key to conversion Nirvana.
So, while color psychology is a valid science, neither a single color nor the right combination of colors on your landing page is a magic bullet. There are design rules to follow in terms of color appeal and avoiding clashes, but color is only one of many factors on a landing page that affect conversion and, as we said above, users and user preferences change. Changing colors is one of the easiest moves to make and test. Just don’t forget the second step – test your results.
Myth: A landing page has to be short or customers will get tired of it and bounce.
Fact: Well, obviously we don’t agree with this. Your landing page should be as long as is necessary to describe its subject matter well enough to inform the user as to the benefits of your product or service, ensure their trust, and instruct and allow them to proceed.
Your product may drive the amount of copy that’s required. A travel site, for example, requires a full, descriptive explanation of a destination’s attractions and amenities, and perhaps potential vacation itineraries. A SaaS landing page might only need a paragraph of description, three to five bullet points describing the benefits of a newsletter, and the call to action.
Another factor to consider is that Google, in one of its latest iterations, began to favor long-form content, concluding that length equals knowledge, which engenders trust. That should be enough to bust this myth once and for all but, again we say, write what’s necessary. Padded content is obvious, annoying and potentially damaging.
Myth: Your CTA must be above the “fold” or no one will ever see it, much less use it.
Fact: Several studies have debunked this myth, actually. But in our view, it relates to the short content/long content debate. The idea that leads to the proposition that a CTA below the fold (that a user has to scroll to see) will not be seen assumes that your content is too weak to hold users’ attention.
But here’s another way to look at it: how interested is someone in your service if they’re not even willing to read past the 200 to 250 words you have at the top of your description? We’re not saying you want to make them “work” for it, but the leads you collect through landing page conversions will be better-qualified leads if they are interested enough to have read what you have to say.
Keep in mind, too, that mobile users scroll and swipe as a matter of course. They’re not worried about a mythical “fold.”
How To Know When To Hire For Landing Page Optimization
The term “landing page optimization” is applicable to a tactic applied at the end of the conversion funnel. But it has become a bit of a misnomer in the way it is commonly used. A landing page optimization expert should be the most laser-focused person on your conversion team and have specific industry experience across many disciplines.
The best time to look for someone who is a savant when it comes to landing page optimization is when you need very specific analyses for creating an online behavioral profile that addresses intrinsic and extrinsic variables with regard to a user’s psychographic motivations (i.e., lifestyle, habits, values, etc.)