Chapter 4: A/B Testing Your Landing Pages
A landing page that follows all the tips from our first few chapters can still be improved upon. Every company and every audience is different, and only by A/B testing will you know you’ve made your landing page the very best it can be for your specific target customers.
The data you collect from your landing pages will actually help you make those and future landing pages more effective. Of course, that means you have to pay attention to your metrics. No one likes poring over spreadsheets, but it’s worth the trouble if you can bring in even more leads, right?
Here’s what you should learn from the data you examine:
- Where visitors clicked on your page
- How long visitors stayed on your page
- How many visitors converted to leads
Each of these metrics can be improved upon, but testing it will be the best way of discovering what works and what doesn’t. Instead of wondering if your headline is compelling enough, put it to the test against a different headline to see which leads to a higher conversion rate. Even the smallest tweaks can significantly affect the number of leads you can generate.
In fact, when completed correctly – with an adequate sample size and time for the experiment – you could see a big boost in leads. Can you believe that even small changes like button color could make a difference that big? Everyone must be A/B testing if they could improve their bottom line by that much, right?
Unfortunately, 61% of businesses run fewer than five tests each month. Don’t be one of those businesses. When testing your landing pages costs next to nothing and is easy to implement, why wouldn’t everyone do it? All you need is the right software to uncover dramatic results from quick and simple changes.
Which Elements Should I Test?
Not all variables on your landing page will result in higher conversions. Some are actually more worthy of your time than others. If you’re wondering if you should change the background color on the page or change the copy, you’ll quickly learn with A/B testing which is more beneficial to your bottom line.
First, let’s determine which of the elements you can optimize through A/B testing on your landing page.
- Offer Type
- Form Fields
Each of these can be broken down into smaller elements. Let’s start with the biggest effort test: offer type.
We’ve done a lot of the work to determine which types of offers work best for prospects in various stages of the buyer’s journey. You may need to test your own offers to determine which types work better for your customers wherever they may be on their journey.
Keep in mind that a balanced mix of content is important so that you’re reaching people at every stage of their buying journey. If you have plenty of content for first-time visitors (like checklists and ebooks), but drop the ball on offers that will convert those visitors into actual customers (like product demos and free trials), then your landing pages won’t do much to help you.
Now, if you want to determine which offers work best with different stages of the buying journey, you’ll just have to test them. You can promote these offers one at a time or do a split test. The first takes longer, but is less work up front. The second gets your job done right away.
To run this test, use the same research to create different offer types, like an ebook versus a webinar. Here's an example of an ebook and webinar we ran here at HubSpot with the folks at Iconosquare:
Here's the landing page for our ebook on Instagram for business.
Here's the landing page for our webinar or "hangout" on Instagram for business.
Simply change the offer type, and use an A/B testing tool (like the one built into HubSpot’s software) promote the offer to your audience through your email and various channels, with some buyers seeing one version and some seeing the other. The one that generates more conversions is the winner – for that particular stage of the buyer’s journey, of course. The offer itself might work better somewhere else with buyers who are further along in their decision.
In addition to types of content, you can also test different topics against each other. This also can be done one at a time, but a split test will give you a better idea of which topic is more compelling for your buyers.
The copy on your landing page can be broken down into various elements, from the headlines to button copy. Each of these smaller pieces can be tested to achieve better results – just make sure you’re testing them one at a time, otherwise you won’t know which copy change yielded the better results.
One test you can start with is short, snappy copy versus a long-form article on the landing page. You might find your audience likes longer copy, while some industries benefit from short, to-the-point information. And this may differ by the type of offer. We’ve also discovered that hard data and bullet points often work better, but you could discover the opposite through your testing.
You could also test including testimonials, quotes from review sites, press and other social proof to strengthen your position. A/B testing is the best way to discover if those elements help or hinder your conversion rates. Remember to test only one thing at a time though to be truly sure of what is impacting the results of your test.
We’ve already touched on using forms in various ways to reach buyers at different stages in the decision process. This chance to A/B test your forms will help you really hone in on what works best.
For top-of-the-funnel offers like ebooks and whitepapers, start with simple contact information. Content and offer forms targeted at folks who are considering making a purchase can ask for more information – but only what you need to help these prospects move further down the funnel. If you’re offering something at the bottom of the funnel (i.e. something for those who are ready to buy but just need a little more convincing), then it’s time to really dig deep for answers that will help you convert that lead into a customer.
The number of fields could impact the number of prospects willing to hand over their information, but don’t be too quick to cut fields. If you remove the most important questions just to increase the number of leads you gain, you still won’t learn what you need to provide the best education for those prospects.
By A/B testing your forms, you can determine which questions make buyers balk and which cause little-to-no friction in creating great relationships.
Now that you’ve got the big things out the way, there are some smaller elements you can test.
Do your buyers like witty, punchy, or clear and informative headlines? Maybe different language will work better to convert different types of prospects. A/B test to find out if more high quality sales leads convert when using a variation of a headline.
In the headline copy test below, version A increased leads by 115%.
Form Field Names
Could you be clearer with your form field names? If your buyers fill in their email address every time you ask for a home or business address, then you could probably work on clarifying things.
You want the colors you use to both work with and stand out from the other colors on your landing page. Contrasting but also complimentary. Could you use another color that catches more eyes?
If your buyers can’t find the button, how can they click it? Test different sizes to see which are large enough to garner attention without overwhelming the overall design. This is especially important for folks who land on your landing page on a mobile device with a smaller screen.
Here’s where you discover if “submit” works for you or not. (Hint: It doesn’t.) Some of the terms you choose could work better than others, though. Take some time to find out which gets your visitors to act.
Here's an example of how the copy "Get" versus "Order" impacted conversion rates in one test:
There’s more than one headline to worry about on your landing page. Make sure your headline of your actual form tells buyers what happens when they fill out the form. A few changes might be needed to get it just right.
How relevant is your image? Knowing that 90% of people process images before words, you could get a big boost to your conversions simply by testing different images.
You may want to experiment with your headlines and body copy to make sure you’re capturing visitors’ attention. A bolder headline with clear, larger-than-usual copy could be the combination that gets those leads converting.
Use of Video
Video could help you illustrate the value of your offer. In fact, some landing pages with video could increase your conversion rate. Consider trying landing pages with and without to see which ones perform better for your buyers.
Social proof is a big deal and could be very helpful on your landing pages. Or, you could find that the testimonials you include distract your visitors from the real goal: filling out that form.
Analyzing Your Results
Like all good marketers, you must track and analyze your results to know what’s working and what isn’t. Some of your metrics will be easier to track that others. For instance, you can see almost immediately how many people clicked through to submit their information. Where things get tricky is comparing the many variables you’ve tested to determine which bring the best results.
Fortunately, we have a free A/B Testing Calculator that’ll help you avoid doing complicated math manually. Use that calculator to help you determine the statistical significance of each change you made with just the push of a few buttons.
Applying Your Learnings
Statistically significant results should be implemented right away. The changes that brought in more visitors, converted more prospects to leads, prompted more information through the form fields, and resulted in higher sales – should all be added to your landing pages permanently.
Just remember: Your landing pages will never be perfect. Just when you think they are, you should probably start testing again.
Consumers are fickle. What prompts them to action today might annoy them tomorrow. The only way to keep your landing pages as fresh as your content is to keep changing things to reflect the latest best practices and trends.