Conversion Increase Over 100% . . . Again


We just received confirmation of a 133% increase in conversion for a recently completed test.

It’s one of hundreds of positive results we’ve seen by testing “calls to action” but only the second time we’ve seen it happen “on accident” while we were running a basket recovery test.

Here’s the setting. . . . We have a subscription based site with a free trial that we have been testing for months. There have been quite a few significant bumps up in conversion and we had yet to run a basket recovery test which has been a never-fail winner in terms of increasing conversion through recovering lost subscribers. The setup for the test was simple: just add an email capture field to the current call to action, give the customers a reason to enter their email address, and follow up with a friendly customer service email if they do not complete the sign-up process.

Typically, adding the email capture field has a negative impact on direct conversion (people signing up on their initial visit) but you make up for it plus some with the basket recovery emails that follow up if they leave the site before completing.

Here is a very typical set of results:

Conversion before basket recovery: 1.21%

Conversion after basket recovery (but before recovery emails sent): 1.09%

Conversion after basket recovery (after emails sent): 1.45%

Most companies would gladly take a 10% hit in direct conversion for a 20% increase in overall conversion. In this test, the results were drastically different and counter intuitive.

Instead of direct conversion decreasing a little, it more than doubled. It’s a rare case where adding friction and anxiety with the email capture field actually increases conversion.

Here are the results:

Uniques to offer page without email capture: 32,782

Free trial sign-ups without email capture: 222

Conversion: .68%

Uniques to offer page with email capture: 30,479

Free trial signups with email capture: 480

Conversion: 1.57%

Increase 133%

If you are scratching your head saying, “Add an email capture field next to my call to action and my conversion will go up,” it’s not quite that easy. We’ve had precisely this same result at least one time before, so let me spell out the similarities so you can determine if you should test this with your own site. An ideal site for this test (one that would most likely get a positive result):

• Is monthly subscription based

• Offers a free trial (or a solid money back guarantee)

• Uses longer copy-style pages where the call to action is typically at the end of the content

• Has a relatively low monthly cost (both are under $30 monthly)

• Is currently using a button or text for their call to action (not a form).

We did not think we would get this result from the actual changes in the call to action. It was totally unexpected. When you are running call-to-action tests with your own site, it’s essential that you test variations that are counter intuitive and just keep testing. We stumbled upon this one, but some of our greatest improvements have been because of precisely the same thing: We were testing for one thing and instead got a result from another that was unexpected.

P.S. If you run this test or have run a similar test in the past with little or no results, let me know and I may be able to take a look and make a few suggestions. Just make a comment.

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