Landing pages are effective tools for converting visitors into clients. They’re ultra-focused individual pages that ask the visitor to complete a task – whether it’s downloading an Ebook, signing up for an email offer or RSVP’ing to a seminar. But too many advisors create the landing page they think will resonate with their target audience without additional testing or evaluation. While they could be right, it’s more likely that these landing pages have room for improvement. With such a highly focused purpose in mind, if your landing page isn’t converting, then it isn’t accomplishing what it was created to do. Here we’ll discuss the in’s and out’s of A/B testing, what to test on your landing page and how to to do it.
What Is A/B Testing?
A/B testing is the process used to test multiple pages in order to understand which is most successful at increasing conversion rates. While A/B testing can be a method for testing traffic, the performance of landing pages is best measured through conversion rates.
A/B testing can be used to test the performance of an already existing landing page, or it can be used with all new pages. This will depend on your purpose for testing: are you ensuring your current landing pages are performing at their best or are you looking to test out some new page layouts or elements?
Whichever scenario you may encounter, here are a key few phrases to know when discussing A/B testing:
- Variants: The versions of a page you use to test (both the champion and challenger pages are considered page variants)
- Champion page: Once testing is complete, this is the page deemed the “winner” with the highest conversion rates
- Challenger pages: The page variants you’ll use to test against the original or control page
Why Is it Important?
While you may think you know your target audience and understand what draws their attention, testing your theories provides tangible proof and evidence to support your strategies. Simply put, running A/B tests will prove whether your assumptions and guesses were correct or off the mark.
For example, you may think your audience will want to read an Ebook on investing, but after A/B testing you discover they respond much better to the offer of an investment checklist instead. Through this testing, you’re able to understand that your audience wants quick, skimmable content and are willing to trade their contact information for it.
Remember – Each landing page has one actionable goal to achieve, so you must ensure it’s performing at its best to achieve it. A landing page that drives traffic but doesn’t convert will not be worth your time and effort.
What to Test on Landing Pages
You know you want to A/B test your landing pages, but what elements should you be testing? We’ve broken down the page elements you should consider below.
Headline & Copy
The headline and copy of your landing pages are your opportunity to tell the user exactly what benefits they’ll receive in exchange for their information. In addition, your body copy can explain more about your company and encourage further site engagement.
Start by testing the headline on your landing page. If it’s not direct, urgent or enticing, your viewers may not be motivated enough to convert. Try rearranging the wording, or opt for more exciting and actionable verbs.
Make similar changes in the copy of your page as well. Switch out certain phrases and incorporate more motivational language that outlines the benefits your user will receive. No matter what changes you make, aim to keep your copy persuasive, informative and direct.
Images, Graphics & Media
Using images and graphics on your landing page may sound like a no-brainer – but did you know they could actually be hurting your conversion rates? Landing pages are simple in nature, meaning they often benefit from a minimalist design.
Try playing with the number of visual aids on your page, the arrangement of them, the type of media and the absence of them altogether. You may find that having no images leads to less distraction and higher conversion – something you’d never know unless you test!
CTA & Offer
The CTA on a landing page is the final hurdle between success and failure. How your CTA appears can determine whether or not the visitor ultimately decides to click. When testing your CTA, consider revamping the phrasing, font, font and background colors and placement on the page. Each of these factors could be impacting your conversion rates – however small they seem!
Your offer is why visitors came to your landing page in the first place. Whether you’re promising an Ebook download, discount on a future seminar or presentation slides, it needs to match your visitors wants and needs. Try testing the types of offers to better understand what visitors find enticing enough to convert.
The way elements are arranged on the page could be impacting your conversion rates. Is your call to action too far down for viewers to easily find? Or maybe your copy would work best as bullet points instead of paragraphs. Play with the layout until you find a sweet spot that works best for the page viewers.
How to A/B Test Landing Pages
Once you know what to test on the page, you need to know how to test them. In A/B testing, it’s imperative that you only change one element on the page per variant. Doing so enables you to see the exact cause of improved performance.
For example, Imagine you change both the headline phrasing and move the CTA higher up on the page. Your conversion rates improve – but now you don’t know why. Was it the improved headline, the CTA placement or a combination of both? You need to understand the impact of each change separately in order to better replicate your success in future landing pages and understand your target audience.
1. Create the Control Landing Page
You’ll need an original or control landing page to test against the performance of your variants. To start, this could be a currently live, well-established landing page or a brand new one. If you’re starting from scratch, release your brand new landing page several months before the tester to allow it to drum up traffic. Once it’s indexed by Google, traffic should steadily increase and eventually level out. At this time, you should be good to release your next variant.
2. Create Challenger Pages
Take the time to determine what elements you want to test on your landing page. You may create multiple variant pages at a time, but you should only change one element per page. As we discussed previously, this will provide you with the most conclusive results of your A/B testing.
3. Consider Making Your Variants Non-Indexed
While your original or control landing page should be indexed by Google, you may want to consider including a “No Index” meta tag on your challenger pages. Why? Because having multiple pages with almost identical content for Google to index can cause two problems: keyword cannibalism and duplicate content. Keyword cannibalism means your two pages with very similar content would be competing against each other in the SERP for relevant keywords. Similarly, duplicate content often raises a red flag to Google, causing both pages to perform poorly in the SERP.
4. Monitor the Performance of Each Site
Use a website testing tool of your choice to monitor the performance of each site. It’s important to be patient during this time, as testing can take months. That’s because in order to yield any type of conclusive and significant results, your pages need to be experiencing a decent amount of traffic. Most website testing tools will alert you to when you’ve reached enough traffic and a clear winner has come forward, or you can watch and evaluate on your own.
5. Select a Champion
Based on your testing phase, one page may show an increase in conversions. This will then be considered the champion page. Once you’ve selected your champion, you may use it as your new control page moving forward.
In some cases, your champion page may have the potential to weaken your SEO strategies. But in the case of landing pages, your focus is on conversions not traffic. If lead generation is significantly increased, that’s the most important factor. There’s no point in ensuring your page is receiving traffic if that traffic isn’t converting, right?
6. Repeat the Process
Once you’ve established a new control (or proved your original to be the champion), you may begin the A/B testing process over again with a new page variant.
What If No Results Are Yielded?
You won’t hit a home run every time. Chances are, you’ll run an A/B test that yields no significant results. This type of testing is a game of trial and error. If no significant results are shown, try the test again with a larger or more dramatic change. Or, you could address a different page element.
While it may not seem like much, no change in traffic can still provide you with insight. These types of results can prove that small changes to that particular element will likely not affect your conversion rates.
Always A/B Test Your Landing Pages
If you’re taking the time to create and promote landing pages, then you should be ensuring that they’re working as effective conversion tools. Small tweaks to your pages can often yield surprising results you may otherwise have never discovered. Take the time to test and analyze to optimize your pages and increase conversions.