We all know that the websites we work on could be better — way better in fact — but it can be difficult to realize exactly how they could be improved. As an experienced digital marketer and SEO specialist, I absolutely love A/B testing and conversion rate optimization (CRO) because they are two of the few tools that can have a significant impact on the performance of all your digital channels.
However, sometimes an A/B test fails to give you that spark you need to drive the optimization of your site, even after having followed good A/B testing frameworks. This can be especially true for some entrepreneurs and bootstrapped startups that simply don’t have the resources or the time to hypothesize and brainstorm landing page tests.
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That’s why I’ve created this list to help you fight the “optimizer’s block,” that moment when your brain feels like a dried up half of a lemon that’s been left out on the kitchen counter-top for a few days. No matter how much you squeeze it, there’s nothing left.
When you’re completely drained and the deadline is approaching fast, consider these 45 testing ideas to try on your PPC, SEO, or email marketing campaign landing pages today!
Improving a landing page’s call to action
The call to action (CTA) is a fairly good and obvious place that you can start testing because it can lead to very powerful and impactful conversion improvements. There are several choices for testing what works the best for your CTA:
1 — You can try using a button for your page’s CTA instead of a link, or you can place a phone number on your app or website for customers to either call or text you.
2 — It’s recommended that you test the button color; no matter where or what the button may be (a download, phone number…etc.), even if it’s inside the form.
3 — Next, you can test the placement of where you are displaying the CTA on your page. As an example, are your phone numbers in the top navigation, in the header image, or at the bottom of the page?
4 — You may also try testing multiple CTAs, even if they are a “repeats.” I sometimes see a CTA at the top of the page but nothing at the bottom, which is making the assumption that your target user is going to perform your desired action before scrolling down or reading the remaining content. You may install and use Heatmap software like Crazyegg or Hotjar to test how far website visitors scroll. If users have read the content or offer, then that is a great time to invite them learn more. You can run a test using the same CTA at the top and bottom for ease of use.
5 — Finally, you can test the actual ad copy and call to action. There are almost unlimited methods of persuasion copy ideas to try. I’m sure there are entire posts on this type of landing page A/B testing. A lot may depend on what you are trying to sell, your lead generation desire, ecommerce, event registration, and whether or not you operate a B2C or a B2B product or service. Here are a few ways you can do this: “call now,” “request a quote,” “see it in action,” “get your copy now,” “register now,” “get a free quote,” “learn more,” “add to cart,” “start my _____ now,” “sign up for a free account,” “request demo,” “try it for free,” and so on and so forth.
Test the lead capture
Forms, which are one of the most popular and important components of a landing page, are critical. There are a ton of different options for testing forms, and even slight changes can cause a significant lift in conversion. Here are some creative things you can try:
6 — You can test the placement on the page: is it centered, on the left side or right side? Is it below the fold or above it?
7 — Test the color of the form to see if it stands out more.
8 — You can also test a form’s layout: horizontal vs. vertical, drop-down fields vs. radio buttons — and remember there are more options out there than these two alternatives.
9 — Another important form test, especially if the user is viewing it on phone, is testing out having fewer form fields users are required to fill out. It’s great to know as much information as possible about a prospective lead: name, phone number, credit card for the free trial, annual revenue, dental records, (just kidding), and so on. But could your business live without some of this information initially, especially if it meant higher conversions? Some form fields may be causing bottlenecks where users drop off and never complete it.
10 — Try testing discreet pop-ups while the user is navigating, and whether yo’re able to launch them without disrupting the user experience of the page. As an example, the customer acquisition software company Hubspot, has lead flows that can be triggered based upon specific or certain parameters. These can be executed without interrupting the user’s ability to navigate the website. (One caveat, if you are are driving or running PPC ads as the traffic source to the page, depending on the network that you are using, make sure pop-ups are not a violation of their policies.)
11 — Test a pop-up overlay when the user leaves the site. However, make it valuable to the user and definitely not annoying! And again, as I mentioned before, if you’re running ads to drive users to this page, just ensure pop-ups are not violation of the ad network’s policies. As the example above using Optinmonster software demonstrates.
Test different images
As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a worth a thousand words.” High quality images can provide context and direction that visitors notice very quickly to understand if the landing page is relevant to what they were researching.
This means that the first thing people see on any landing page, banner, pricing page, or email marketing campaigns is your images (and the colors). Let’s also not forget the aesthetic background appeal of images that are used to supplement the text on a page.
However, I’ve seen some images used that do not add value, and even worse, some that can even drive people away by misleading the visitor as to what the page’s content, purpose, or intended audience is.
Tip: The image should highlight your value proposition and show customers within seconds “what’s in it for them.” To make sure you use and select image that help to improve a page’s conversion, try running some of these tests:
12 — You can try testing images with people vs. images without people in them. Often times photos with people (especially stock) may look staged and unnatural, but on the flip side to that, images with people can help visitors build or feel a connection to the brand.
13 — Test icons and vectors instead of pictures. There are circumstances where photographs are not able to illustrate key points as well as vectors or other types of images.
14 — Test the size of any image on the page.
15 — Test the location of the image being placed, or whether there should be an image on the page at all.
16 — Consider testing pictures and screenshots in pictures with more abstract meanings — this can be especially true for software as a service companies like SAAS. Of course product pictures would be used for things like retail, ecommerce, and restaurants.
17 — Test a new header or hero image.
18 — You can test a banner with text, on top of it, or in lieu of a header image.
Change up and rework the layout
Sometimes your landing pages could use a structural layout overhaul. It can be difficult to get there with A/B tests, but it can be done. And, as a general best practice, test one page element or component at a time — there’s value in running multivariate tests:
19 — Studies have shown that many people scan and read content in an “F” pattern. Try testing and placing your most important elements so that they fall within this line of sight.
20 — Test the landing page with a header image or hero banner vs. a page without it.
21 — Try testing and including the CTA as part of the header image vs. entirely separate.
Test and put your copy to work
The copy you use on your landing page should tell and convey a story. We’ve all heard the phrase too often that “content is king,” but it’s still often found on landing pages that are created on the fly. It can be beneficial to revisit the value proposition of your copy and to test a few different tactics in order to make the copy more impactful. Here are some suggestions:
22 — A/B test a new copy to try and make your page more convincing and persuasive.
23 — Look into the traffic metrics and stats for the page you are testing, and then test creating pages for your highest-volume markets and personas so that you can provide an experience that is hyper-relevant to those visitors.
24 — There will be times (especially with paid ad traffic) when the amount of text on a page can be overwhelming. Most people scan a landing page, as opposed to read the entire page, word-for-word. Run a layout test by breaking up the content into smaller paragraphs, use bullet lists or break it up with images in between sections, so that your post seems more approachable and easier to consume.
25 — Test emphasizing key points with block quotes, images of quotes or by even incorporating them into the subheaders.
26 — You can test and try adjusting your landing page copy to be written in an active voice vs. a passive voice.
27 — Test creating copy and imagery that is solution-oriented instead of feature-centric.
28 — Test how much content is visible above the fold vs. below it. Pro-tip: even consider testing exactly what text falls right above the fold.
29 — Test using interactive content such as video, quizzes, or pages that users can interact with.
31 — Test whether including testimonials causes a lift in the conversion rate.
32 — You also should try updating and A/B testing your meta-title and meta-description to see if that boosts traffic and the click-thru-rate to your page through organic results or other channels like social, which show the meta description of the page. This can also be very beneficial for landing pages that were missing meta-descriptions to begin with because the weren’t meant to rank — i.e. used for email or PPC campaign.
Test the visibility of elements distracting from goal completions
The way your visitors navigate pages (or don’t) is a critical component of the way your story is being told, so it’s important to be mindful of the way you want your visitors to interact with your page. A landing page is usually a standalone page, with no navigation links or other distractions that would keep visitors from converting — making the user experience more focused when compared to a full website.
If you are running a retargeting or PPC advertising campaign, it’s rare to see a landing page perform the best that had full navigation. However, under some circumstances a page with limited navigation performed better than a page with no navigation — especially with a b2b software product — because it allowed the visitor to explore more information about the product before committing to a demo. If I do a search for “ab testing software” you get a few choices, as shown and the second choice is from Optimizely.
Optimizing a landing page’s headline using message matching strategies, includes easy-to-read copy, a choice to use a limited top navigation, only one CTA, bullet points, short form, and social proof of all famous brands that use their platform.
When I click back to same search for “ab testing software,” Optimizely is showing me another landing page with no navigation on it. They are testing which landing page leads to more trial signups.
33 — Test landing pages with no navigation versus full navigation.
34 — If it turns out that you find that using full navigation converts best, you can also try testing a secondary navigation option to help them find more information about your product or service that they have shown some interest in, so they quickly find out more to help them make a decision.
35 — You also can try testing the winner of the above test benchmarked against a few different limited navigational options.
Provide collateral and content
I am big fan of micro-conversions, in the right circumstance. So you can provide useful content to users or potential customers to help them continue along their fragmented path to purchase, while obtaining more info about them and where they are in your sales funnel. With this will come several testing opportunities:
36 — In spite of the fact that the call, demo, or purchase request may be your company’s main CTA, you may want to test a secondary CTA — like a signup email newsletter or downloadable whitepaper. Then, your business development team can follow through to see if the addition of those micro-conversions is leading to more sales long term.
37 — Test whether gating or not gating generates more qualified lead prospects. For paid search campaigns, you can do this by building audiences off of a piece of content and then tracking what happens to those audiences. Or, you can use Kissmetrics or Google Analytics to analyze flow reports, but just keep in mind there are some limitations given these are based upon sessions, not users.
38 — Test different content offerings, to see which performs better. As an example, if you are creating an e-book, you could try recording yourself reading the e-book and create an audiobook or podcast. Then you could test which of those brings in more conversions.
Experiment with cross-selling or upselling
Most conversion rate optimization strategies focus on the main selling goal, but there are other opportunities for product or service upsell and cross-sell conversion rate testing as well. Here a few possibilities:
39 — Before the lead submission or purchase is completed, suggest other items the customer may like or find value in.
40 — You can suggest additional features and add-ons the customer might like access to before the purchase is completed.
41 — Before the purchase or lead submission is completed, suggest other products that compliment the customer’s needs.
42 — After the purchase, provide content and information about additional relevant products and services.
It’s important to focus on continuing engagement
If you’re an ecommerce company, take it a step further. Once you get a user or customer, attribute where you got them from, how much you paid for them and the time it takes to recover from that acquisition cost.
Don’t stay on the surface. You paid for those clicks. You need to know. And that’s the only way you’ll truly understand your customer’s lifetime value. You will want to find ways to maximize the customer’s lifetime value to your company by keeping engagement going.
43 — After the initial purchase, test providing additional content to ensure customers get the most out of their purchase, this especially important with b2b SAAS products.
44 — After the purchase, create opportunities for customers to share their purchase or experiences with your product.
45 — After the purchase, try inviting those new customers to follow your social networks and provide product or service feedback.
Evaluate the quality of traffic
If you have tested and tested your landing pages, and you still find that your conversion rates are fairly low (under three percent), it might be that the traffic isn’t as relevant or targeted as it could be. Take a look in your analytics platform to determine if there are traffic sources or keywords that aren’t performing as well as others. Then dig in further from there.
I know that without a proper conversion optimization strategy no matter how good an idea is for another business, it might never work for yours. But I also know that sometimes all you need is a glimpse of inspiration from someone else to help you come up with your new winning idea.
Have I missed anything, do you have any other landing page experiments to add? I want to know. Leave a comment below.