Landing Page Optimization
Derek Edmond is Speaking!
- Organization: New England New Media Association (NENMA)
- Event: NENMA Fall Conference: SEO Bootcamp
- Date: Thursday, November 19, 2009
- Location: Northeastern University, Dedham Campus (370 Common St.)
- Link: http://www.nenma.org/2009/10/come-one-come-all-to-nenma-seo-bootcamp.html
- Topic: Promoting & Leveraging Tradeshows:
- If you are going to spend valuable budget on exhibiting at a tradeshow (or even to attend one), consider using SEO, PPC, and Social Media to maximizes the investment. How To Maximize Your Trade Show Investment Via Search Marketing, Andy Komack, SearchEngineLand.com
Twitter Strategy Note
Twitter recently launched Twitter Lists. Consider creating a few public lists and a some private lists.
- Public lists – this may be a bit self-serving, but if you list someone they may feel inclined to put you in one of your lists. It looks like “Listed” is going to be another one of those “ego” metrics where your profile will look that much valuable if you are listed by many other users.
- Private lists – create lists of prospects, clients, partners etc. Use your private lists as one way to stay organized and keep on top of what your closest network is saying.
Even though I use Tweetdeck to organize the people I follow, I have started using Twitter lists as one extra way to organize the people I want to pay extra attention to. We may all find that Twitter Lists don’t add up to much (because other tools such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc. do a better job of organizing workflow), but if you are investing time in Twitter, you might as well invest a little time in Lists (who knows, there may be some SEO benefit to being on lots of Public lists!?!).
If you are interested in publishing an article on our blog, please let Andy know through e-mail or a Twitter Direct Message.
Here are some guidelines:
- Must be unique (cannot be published in another place)
- Not promotional (while we will give by-line credit, and a link, stay objective and be informative)
- Topics can be broad, but should relate to marketing, and articles about B2B marketing are best
You will receive great exposure, a link (or two), and we promote our posts!
Which Landing Page Variables Are Worth Testing?
Landing Pages are the most critical component of any direct marketing campaign. Period.
These pages follow through on all of the promise and expectations generated in the effort to drive visitors to your Web site.
It’s ironic that Landing Page testing is usually the last stop for Internet marketers! There are likely a number of reasons why Landing Pages come last in the priority list:
- Resource Roadblocks - Making changes to Web pages is too time-intensive, expensive, or requires an IT resource to get the work done
- Paralysis by Analysis – People don’t know what to test
- Belief – Maybe you don’t believe that Landing Pages make a difference?
The #1 obstacle that I have seen to testing landing pages over the years (10 and counting) is getting someone to make the necessary changes to a page. Even when there is a quality Content Management System (CMS) in place, there are typically changes that need to be made that a non-technical user cannot make. And, even when a template has been set up in a CMS for creating and testing landing pages, there is still the time needed by the marketer to make content and asset (e.g. images) changes.
The two best ways to get over this obstacle are:
1) Have a template created in your CMS specifically for Landing Pages
2) Use a 3rd-party testing tool
Have your Web developer create a template (or a series of templates) that you can use to generate Landing Pages quickly. Use the list of testing concepts in the Paralysis by Analysis section below to create specifications for the elements that should be present in the templates.
Whether or not you have a CMS, or have specific Landing Page templates set up in your CMS, you should still consider using a 3rd-party tool to facilitate testing of variables.
A 3rd-party tool will be able to handle multivariate testing for you, making recommendations about the best-performing combination of variables. There really is no substitute for the level of functionality, ease-of-use, and reporting that a 3rd-party tool will give you.
There are many tools out there, with a wide range of costs and functionality. In fact, there are so many tools, and landing page optimization companies, that there would be too many to list here. And, to date, I have not found a good comprehensive list of companies and reviews out there (if you have a list of landing page tools and reviews of the tools, please let me know!).
That said, you can think about costs ranging from free (Google’s Website Optimizer) to thousands of $$ per month (ion Interactive’s LiveBall), to tens-of-thousands of $$ (Omniture Test & Target). We have recently started using a combination of products and services from Hiconversion that costs $2,000 for complete set up of an experiment and 3-months of the use of the tool. I am finding that this is the best combination of functionality, ease-of-use, reporting, and results out there.
I’m always open to new tools and options though, and we are comfortable using a range of tools.
Paralysis by Analysis
A key obstacle to optimizing Landing Pages is deciding what to test.
In addition, some marketers are still caught in the A/B testing mode of thinking, when multivariate testing is now so easily accessible and a better methodology for the online medium.
One thing that I especially like about multivariate testing is that it allows for a more democratic process and can help push the boundaries of what marketers decide to test. Why have an exhaustive debate about a particular test variable? If an experienced member of the team feels that something should be tested, but not everyone is “on board”, let that test be part of the mix and see who “wins.”
Here are some ideas for variables to test on a Landing Page:
- Call to action
- Action words
- Forms (Contact, Registration, etc.)
- Body copy
- Use of images
The hard part is finding something at your company that you can offer for free and/or that is truly compelling and valuable. It’s important to keep the offers relevant to your audience as well.
- White papers (hopefully not just fluff pieces)
- Free evaluation and/or custom report
- Special financing
- Special warranty
- Extra service/support contract
- Training (either from your company, or from a 3rd party)
- Independent research
- Product or service from a partner
- Subscription to trade publication
- Event passes
- Free shipping
- Extra gift
- Subscription to magazine
Call to Action & Action Words
The Call To Action and the words associated with it will obviously be closely tied to the Offer you have. If you do not feel you have an “Offer” in the truest sense, keep in mind that what you are asking people to do inherently has an offer component to it.
As a variable to test, I would rotate in a number of the following (as long as they are synonymous; my list is unformatted for expediency):
For a simple lead generation form, regardless of the Offer, consider a simple test of “get a quote”, “receive a quote”, and “request a quote”.
Contact & Registration Forms
Our experience has shown that a lead generation Landing Page always benefits from having a submission form on the page, in the right margin, aligned to the top of the page’s heading.
Industry research consistently confirms this (for a starting place, see MarketingSherpa’s Landing Page Handbook). And, the actions of Lead Generation and Landing Page Optimization companies support this finding (use Google to search for either “lead generation” or “landing page optimization” and click on the Sponsored Ads – you will see how the experts do it themselves).
You can experiment with the length of the forms/the number of form fields to see what generates the best results. Keep in mind that “best results” does not necessarily translate into the highest number of conversions; the number of Quality/Qualified Leads is usually the key metric (although there is something to be said for allowing more overall leads into the system if you have a sophisticated lead nurturing program in place).
Keep it short. Use lists & bullets. Mix in a variety of key points to see what resonates the most.
Experiment with the size, color and length of your headings. Test out punctuation – !, ?, .
Use this as an opportunity to take some risks. Test out something branded, something generic, and something completely different.
Use of Images
Images are a key tool in Landing Pages! Consider trying out images of:
- Research report covers
- Products in use
- People (happy people, professional people, different demographics, etc.)
- Awards received
- Promotional bursts
- Sample outputs (e.g. reports that your software produces, products that your equipment produces, products/services that your clients would typically produce, etc)
If you have customer quotes, stories, case studies, etc., try referencing these on your Landing Pages. Test out some different looks using client logos, italicized quotes, key metrics, etc.
Space on a Landing Page can get tight, so something like Testimonials can often get pushed to the bottom – test out how the page performs when you put the testimonials at the top, in the middle, and on the side.
If you don’t have a strong belief that conversion rates are THE leverage point to tweak in an online marketing campaign, then it will probably take some conversation and convincing. I’m always interested in having these kinds of conversations, so I encourage you to contact me if you want to run through some numbers, toss around some ideas, brainstorm, talk approaches, etc.
In the meantime, I encourage you to go through a modeling exercise:
- Use either our e-Commerce ROI Calculator or our Lead Generation ROI Calculator.
- Pick some numbers for a theoretical (or real) PPC campaign – impressions, click through rate, cost per click, average value of a transaction, etc.
- Choose a baseline Conversion Rate number
- Plug the values into our ROI Calculators
- Then, methodically adjust your Conversion Rate assumptions by increments of 0.1%
By going through this exercise, you will (hopefully) see how improving your Landing Pages’ conversion rates is the best thing you can do for the health of your campaigns.
- Landing Page Testing: Choosing Between A/B Or Multivariate Approaches, Search Engine Land
- Landing Page Handbook, MarketingSherpa
- 100 Tools, Tips and Resources in Landing Page Designs, csshook.com
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