When it comes to split testing, you’ve been doing great so far. You’ve got a great design, compelling copy and excellent flow. In your eyes, this new page is irresistible.
But before you press that launch button and unleash it to an unsuspecting world, there are a few more things you’ll want to check. Let’s take a closer look at them:
1. Does Everything on the Page Work The Way It Should?
This seems like exactly the kind of thing you’d want to make sure of before a test, and yet many professionals are left scrambling after they launch a campaign only to find that their mailing list isn’t subscribing new users, or their automated welcome message isn’t going out.
Maybe they learn, too late, that the call-to-action button leads to the wrong page or that new membership backend isn’t giving the user their login information. It should go without saying, but test everything. Every popular device. Every major browser. Everything. Try to make mistakes on purpose just to see if the system will throw you for a loop and then amend them before you start that first test.
In a nutshell, you want the process to be completely flawless, in order to get users to the next step in your funnel.
2. How Easy is it For the User to Visually Digest Everything At a Glance?
This is not the prime time to throw everything at a user and hope some of it sticks. Too often, I see landing pages that are filled to the brim with copy on every conceivable topic under the sun. The landing page, in essence, doubles as a FAQ, a live chat portal, a support desk, a reviews page and just about everything else.
And while I’m not discounting the importance of all of these features, remember that your landing page doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting. In fact, your main goal should just be to get users to take that first step – followed by another step, and another.
There’s nothing wrong with, say, having a live chat option for those urgent questions that could make or break a conversion. But for everything you add, remember that you’re also throwing yet another layer of complexity to the conversion recipe. Your landing page should be the virtual equivalent of getting a foot in the door – you can always follow up with automated emails or redirect the user to a page that helps further guide their first steps.
Whatever page you’re testing, make it easy for the user to get the big picture at first-glance. No unnecessary scrolling, no need to stop and think “am I in the right place?” Make it push-button simple for them to take the action you want them to take, without a lot of second-guessing on their part.
3. How Crucial Is the Page to Testing in the First Place?
Let’s face it, split tests may be easy to set up, but if you’re only getting some traffic to the page, it will take quite some time before your pages achieve statistical significance and you can declare a winner with confidence. With that being said, ask yourself how mission critical this page is to testing in the first place?
Is it one of your most lucrative products or services? If it isn’t, switch your focus to the page that will make the most impact. Don’t be afraid to test that page. Big impactful changes can lead to big, measurable gains in conversion rate. The last thing you want to do is “play it safe” with your landing page tests – messing with low-impact, low-stress things like button color and text that barely move the needle.
Concentrate on your most crucial pages first, then gauge the results and refine your strategy accordingly. You have the data and no one knows your product or your audience like you do. Look for the most important pages on the conversion path and make them shine.
4. How Understandable Is the Page’s Offer?
There are some conversion-focused offers that are easy to do. It varies from industry to industry, but chances are your audience has a certain set of expectations with offers. Whatever they’re expecting, now is not the time to change a running system.
There’s a reason they’ve gotten comfortable with your brand and deviating from that expectation for the sake of innovation is conversion friction of the highest degree. Simply put, it not only breaks from the norm for what customers look for in your particular market, but it does it in a way that’s mentally jarring. It takes them out of their comfort zone and plops them right into uncertainty.
And if you think they’re just going to march on ahead toward a conversion in the midst of all that confusion, you’ve already lost them.
Mind you, I’m not saying you should conform and fall in line with what your competitors are offering. Otherwise there are no differentiating factors between you and them. Instead, don’t break the mold – just reshape it in a way that centers on value. What can you bring to the table that’s absolutely irresistible, attractive and easy to understand?
That should be the core of your offer.
5. How Much Interaction Does There Need to Be?
Just like with the page offer, making users go through a lot of unnecessary work can make them want to give up in frustration. Granted, there’s going to be some necessary interaction on the page – filling out forms, pushing buttons, adding items to a cart, requesting a callback or what have you.
But just like with making sure everything is understandable and visually digestible, so too will you need to remove any unnecessary roadblocks that could be affecting your user’s desire to take action. Most commonly, this can be seen in signing up for a mailing list or membership.
Obviously, you’ll need the double opt-in for your email to be compliant with marketing regulations. But imagine now that after the customer has verified, they’re asked to create an account. Now, they have to fill in more forms, wait for a confirmation, click it, realize their password doesn’t conform to the stated requirements, change it, confirm that change, and so on.
This is an extreme example, to be sure, but it shows you just how much we rely on these systems and platforms to help give our customers the best possible experience, only to aggravate and confuse them. Take note of how many steps it takes for your customer or prospect to do something on your pages. Then look at what steps you can realistically eliminate. The fewer hoops the customer has to jump through – the better.
6. How Likely is the User to Convert?
Finally, we get down to the moment of truth – how likely the user is to convert. The fact is, no matter how valuable your offer, no matter how fluid your design and how great your copy flows, if your offer isn’t compelling enough to get the user to act right that moment, they’ll put it off until later.
And then it’s likely that they’re gone for good.
Some marketers put up a false sense of scarcity with countdown clocks or X number left of a program (come on, they’re digital items, you’re not fooling anybody) but these only serve to tarnish trust between the prospect and the marketer. In order to motivate them to act, you have to harness some psychological techniques, like these:
- Many small yes’s – What can you get the customer to commit to that won’t take a lot of time, effort or money? Many small yes’s are better than one big investment of any of those things.
- Real scarcity – Even if you have a digital product, taking it down when the timer runs out or you reach whatever goal you’ve set for yourself proves to customers that you are true to your word. They may have missed out on this offer, but you can be sure they won’t miss out on the next one.
- What happens if… – What happens if the customer goes to a competitor? What happens if they decide to do nothing at all? Can you help them visualize what the results with your product or service will be like if they act today?
Bonus! Understand How the Test Will Impact Your Entire Funnel
Oftentimes a test may boost conversions to the next step in the funnel, but actually results in fewer conversions near the bottom of the funnel – where you make your money. So before your test, hypothesize if you think this test will impact the bottom of your funnel. Avoid tests that boost conversion to the next step but fail to improve the bottom of your funnel.
So before you split test anything, look at these options and ensure that your page is as finely tuned as it can be. Look for ways to clear out any clutter or obstacles (even technical ones) that could be putting a wedge between you and your prospect. And above all, be sure to follow up with the same attention and focus you poured into this landing page, to ensure that not just the beginning of the funnel is brimming with conversions, but the rest of it as well.