Ever tested an optimized landing page that followed all the right tactics, dramatically improved the page’s look and feel, got kudos on all the internal previews – and still got trounced by the ugly duckling control page?
Today the MarketingExperiments team reviewed a test that fit this scenario precisely. The control page was a bare-bones, ultra-vanilla layout: white background, plain black text, bulleted copy and simple name and e-mail signup form. There was even a prominent typo.
The tested treatments were far more polished and professional, with masthead logo images, a few testimonials, images of client logos, copy with select phrases bolded, and different text on the “submit” button. An “Anti-Spam” medallion next to the short form was added to reassure registrants.
Remarkably, the conversion rate was nearly 14% for the bare-bones control, compared to a 7-9% range for the two treatments. We can’t show the pages, but here are a few takeaway lessons:
• Beware of copy revisions that significantly alter the offer. From headlines to “submit” buttons, it’s easy to underestimate the power of two or three words to tilt the needle the wrong way. Example: “Free Access” vs. “Send me Tips”.
• Not every hero shot will save the day. Images aren’t a slam dunk, whether they are of people or product. Using a relevant photo generally attracts the eye, and the right one can add a little sizzle to the page, but portraits and logos run the risk of being divisive. Example: Logos of your Fortune 500 clients could turn off some small companies and single-shingle prospects.
• Don’t count on an incentive to lift response. Thinking of adding a freebie to make your opt-in offer more appealing? Tread carefully. It might not hurt response, but it might not help either. In this test, the treatment offering a free report finished dead last. (Keep that in mind before you produce that next whitepaper you’re certain every prospect will love.)
While these pages are going back to the lab for additional testing, the early results helped isolate several elements that should make a big impact on subsequent rounds. It’s a good reminder that even tests that fail can improve our optimization efforts, and that we still benefit … even when the ugly ducklings win.