For many website owners and managers, trying to increase landing page conversion rate boils down to website split-testing. Or, some say to hell with split testing and just flat out change key sales page components like pricing, headlines, or CTA’s. Bravo to both approaches but they could ultimately land you in bankruptcy for three simple reasons:
1. Large Testing Samples Required to Verify Results
Let’s say that you want to either split test or simply replace a headline and see how much it might increase landing page conversion rate. Even for a free or lead gen CTA, you would still need a minimum of 500 or 1,000 visitors to each version (both control and new headline) to sufficiently test and verify if you have been able to truly increase landing page conversion rate.
Now just imagine if your landing page has a bad headline, weak CTA, and weak credibility tools. That means that if everything went perfectly and you not only guessed which sales tools were not working but also fixed them correctly in just one try–you are looking at a cumulative testing sample of 3,000-6,000 visitors. And for sites with direct sales and especially with higher price points, it might take a testing sample of 5,000 or more per version to verify results with any degree of confidence.
So when you consider the sheer size of testing samples and the cost of each visitor, do you really want to be guessing and randomly split testing sales tools when each test could literally cost you $1,000’s?
2. You May be Testing or Changing Sales Tools that Are Working Great
How do you know if a headline, CTA, or credibility tool isn’t working? Is it a feeling? Does the sales tool not conform to best practices?
The truth? Most people have no idea what is or isn’t working on a landing page, sales page, or product description. In many cases, many start split testing headlines because they are at the very top of the copy and the first thing they come across. Others start with pricing or value proposition but the recurring theme is the same: They are replacing sales tools like headline without any proof or supporting evidence that the tools are even broken. In many cases, people are literally replacing effective sales tools that were never the problem in the first place and then spending $1,000’s on traffic to verify the tool worked just fine.
3. The Landing Page May Not Be the Problem
I have seen several clients with high-converting landing pages convinced they needed revamped and replaced. Why?
Well, many people just look at overall sales volume when determining conversion rate–which is correct. But, when you are trying to fix the conversion rate, you need to dig deeper. For instance, a landing page will convert great but deliver a low overall sales volume if there are other issues affecting conversions off-page, such as:
Weak Sales Funnel:
If you aren’t getting enough people to the landing page, then the sales volume will still be low even if the page itself converts great. This is a far more common issue than most assume and one of the biggest reasons why most fail to increase landing page conversion rate via split testing.
Shopping Cart Problems:
From not enough payment options to errors in pricing or even shipping rate calculations, your shopping cart can kill conversions that would otherwise have been generated by the landing page in question.
Weak Traffic Sources:
If untargeted, disinterested visitors are getting to your website, then you can optimize until you have the best page on the planet and you still won’t be able to significantly increase landing page conversion rate.
Here’s How to Increase Landing Page Conversion Rate in 3 Simple Steps
Step 1: Set-Up and Configure Google Analytics
Already have Google Analytics set up on your site? Great! But if you don’t have Google Analytics set-up, then be sure to do so and don’t overlook these three areas:
1. Be Sure that Goals and/or Ecommerce Are Set-Up and Configured
2. Be Sure to Hook Up or Configure Demographics Tracking
3. Be Sure to Link Your Google Adwords and Google Analytics Accounts
Now you might be wondering how setting up Google Analytics can help increase landing page conversion rate on your site and it’s a fair question. Briefly, Google Analytics is vital to landing page optimization for three reasons:
First, Google Analytics helps you assess traffic quality getting to your site. You do this by looking at the average time on site and bounce rates for individual keywords in the Acquisition Tab. If people are bailing on your site within a few seconds and your bounce rate is above 60%, then you definitely have traffic quality issues that are certainly suppressing online conversions.
Secondly, Google Analytics helps track the percentage of visitors making it to each page of content on your site (Behavior>Content Drilldown). This will help you determine if it’s viable to increase landing page conversion rate or better to focus on your sales funnel.
Finally, Google Analytics can also help you calculate both CTR to order page (from landing page) and abandonment rate from your shopping cart. Again, this just helps you determine what needs fixed to boost overall site conversions and isolate the true problem(s).
Step 2: Use Heat Mapping to Optimize Landing Page Itself
One of the biggest challenges in trying to increase landing page conversion rate is figuring out what sales tools are working, and which aren’t. And if you opt to just replace the entire page and start from scratch, how can you honestly expect different results if you don’t know what didn’t work on the initial copy?
Fortunately, heat mapping tools like Clicktale and Crazy Egg solve this problem. Heat mapping software essentially monitors mouse or thumb scrolling by visitors as they browse your site. Now just having the heat mapping for one or two visitors really won’t tell you much because there simply isn’t enough data to draw meaningful conclusions.
But with sample sizes of 200 or more, you can quickly see the aggregate patterns and isolate weak sales tools on the page. In the screenshot to the right, red and yellow represent high scan times over the content. That means your visitors are highly engaged and really paying attention to the content. Weak sales tools, however, will appear as blue or green.
So in the screenshot to the right, you can quickly see that the value proposition has very low scan times. We also see some low scan times over the data fields where visitors should be completing purchase but this is pretty typical since the page both isn’t converting well.
To sum up, heat mapping tools can help you quickly increase landing page conversion rate by helping you:
- Quickly Identify Weak Sales Tools that Need Work
- Avoid Fixing Strong Sales Tools or Revising Everything from Scratch
- Isolate Click-Thru-Rates of CTA’s and Other Links on Landing Page
Step 3: Fix Weak Sales Tools and Split Test
For this final step, I can’t provide any specific instructions because all sites are different and there just is no standardized response. And while heat mapping is perfect for helping you find conversion problems, it can’t tell you how to fix them.
So, the best solution is to find a competitor’s same type of content and look it over to find the same sales tools that are weak on your page. Then, emulate what the competitor is doing (obviously customize for your business) and split test. I will be creating future posts that provide specific tips for different business models and landing page types (lead gen, membership, ecommerce, etc.). But again, if you’ve already conducted SWOT analysis and have solid competitor’s to compare against, they can quickly point you in the right direction on what specific changes need made to increase landing page conversion rate.
Without question, you can often quickly increase landing page conversion rate and overall site profits with just a few simple changes to your existing content. And with zero additional marketing costs, that means the extra sales generated from optimization are far more profitable than those generated via SEO, PPC, SMM, or content marketing.
However, there is also no question that random split testing of sales tools or just revamping content from scratch is insanely expensive and unlikely to help you realize your goals. In fact, there is no guarantee that your conversion problem is actually isolated to the landing page.
For these reasons, I strongly advise that the best way to increase landing page conversion rate is to first install and configure both Google Analytics and heat mapping software. The Google Analytics helps isolate the conversion problems on the site and will tell you if you have weak traffic, poor sales funnels, or shopping cart issues that are suppressing sales. The heat mapping helps isolate weak sales tools on the landing page itself so you can avoid needless split testing.
In most cases, investing in conversion rate optimization pays for itself again and again by increasing conversions with zero increase in marketing costs. But to be sure and to increase landing page conversion rate as fast as possible, install Google Analytics and some form of heat mapping before you think about split testing.