Landing Pages Testing – Worth it?

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Landing page testing and optimizationEnhancing a campaigns performance in the Search channels such as a paid search campaign, or even in an email program, if done properly can reap those conversion rewards, or whatever your defined KPI’s (key performance indicators) may be. Though when traveling down this path of designing, building and executing landing pages, the necessity to test is critical. Just as with a paid search campaign, email promotional or lifecycle campaigns, eStore check out sales funnel and your run of the mill homepage, the need to test to optimize is integral to maximize your online the outcome you’re seeking…whether it be increased signs ups, conversions, sales, opt-ins, opens, click thru’s etc.

Understanding what’s worth testing is that “ah-ha” many marketers face and tend to pull random ideas out of the hat. The issue I’ve found with marketers is not necessarily deciding if they should test…but rather understanding what variables they should test. While almost any variable on the landing page could be tested – raised CTA (call to action), key messaging above the fold, dynamic keyword population, localization to the visitors geographic city or region, larger images/buttons/text, content layout stemming from heat map reports, etc., the list can go on and on.

So what is worth testing? Here are my guidelines on what’s worth testing.

1. Strategy – What are your bottom line goals, objectives and their underlying KPI’s
The purpose of testing landing pages is simply to improve your results benchmarked off industry averages, your historical campaign results, or testing what connects best with your audience to drive conversions. So the goal of your landing page test program is your bottom line.

Not all landing page and optimization tactics will be become that money shot or X factor, but continually taking care of your program by testing and optimizing will reap rewards inevitably. Personally, a general rule of thumb is that if you don’t find tests that are unsuccessful or fail, then you’re not investing enough into it. Just like life, you don’t succeed without failures and you don’t learn without those important lessons.
Before you dive into your landing page project, the pages to test, design and copy layouts, and multiple attributes to test, take a step back and do a little discovery phase on what is most important to your bottom line. Your discovery phase should ask you:

  • What is your primary conversion goal(s)?
    • What are you secondary conversion goal(s)?
    • How are these goals weighted in order of importance? Ex. you may want to seek to improve your sales funnel for the highest margin or highest volume product in your estore.
    • Does your team agree with your goals, and the selection of what is most important? Team buy-in is necessary as everyone may perceive their goals differently, and the optimization of your landing pages will be driven from these goals your team agreed upon.
  • Benchmarks
    • What existing conversion rate data can you extract to measure the new optimized landing page against? Not knowing this defeats the success of any significant improvements of your goals. Its essential you have some baseline to benchmark against to understand any positive or negative effects of the test landing page.
  • Conversion Value $$
    • Most of us are in the business to monetize the web, so you should know your online businesses value of multiple conversion points. CPL (cost per lead), CPC (cost per click), CPA (cost per acquisition – sign up, sale, opt-in), etc. Though in most cases, your landing page will not be functioning as the conversion point for a direct sale, unless you’re operating an eStore and testing the check out page. For others, the landing page will be measuring improvements in conversions from a Paid Search campaign, or increased traffic from an email campaign test. In most cases your landing page will simply helping to push the visitor further down your conversion path…which is your end goal. Knowing this you’ll then be watching not only in increased volumes in your campaign conversion path from the landing page, but for each other page in your path as all sites will experience some level of attrition along the conversion funnel to your end goal.

At the start of your project, to understand if testing a landing page is worth your time and investment, first run through the above points to clarify your goals and establishing benchmarkable data. Even if your conversion goal is not a monetary value, such as an email opt-in or an account sign up, applying a value to the conversion will help quantify improvements in your landing page optimization.

I touched on this the above points. Understanding the long-term value of your conversions will also contribute to your testing goals. As most conversions happen down the conversion / sales funnel, you’ll want to monitor the results to gain insight into other barriers or opportunities to help push visitors down the path and reduce page attrition.

Understanding this will truly help you determine how much your test results may affect the bottom line of your campaign.

In another post I’ll continue the subject of landing page testing and begin how to identify the target pages for landing page testing and optimization. In these postings I’ll cover how to understand which pages are worth testing, expanding the conversion funnel entry points, benefits for organic Search, identifying barriers and bottlenecks such as those nasty attrition rates, elements to worth testing and which landing pages to start the test run. Significant insight can be discovered in landing page testing, creating opportunities for the site owner to grow and maximize their online conversions.

1 reply
  1. Oli Gardner
    Oli Gardner says:

    Nice post MJ.

    I like what you’re saying regarding “if you don’t find tests that are unsuccessful or fail, then you’re not investing enough into it. ”

    So true. I find that the best way to progress and grow as a landing page designer or optimizer is to develop your own internal checklist of things that go wrong, so that you can learn from them and avoid repeating your bad practices.

    Many landing page tests come out virtually even, which can be disappointing. Sometimes you have to swing for the fences a little to bring some drama to the test and find things that have a large influence (good or bad).

    Looking forward to more posts on this.

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