Let’s make one thing clear: If you’re not testing your inbound marketing efforts, you are missing out on leads and conversions by not optimizing your marketing material to give you the highest conversion rates. You’re probably investing a great deal of time and money into creating unique content, landing pages, free resources, etc., and you’d be wise to make sure that you’re getting the most out of what you’re creating for your ideal buyers.
How are you able to make sure your landing pages are getting you the highest conversion rates? By testing landing pages and optimizing the results of your research.
What is A/B testing, exactly?
A/B testing or split testing is when two versions of a landing page are shown to website visitors to test which landing page performs better. A is your control and B is the test.
Intuition is one of the most powerful forces driving a customer to buy. The gut feeling a person gets about your business will be a major determining factor in whether or not they convert from a lead to a customer. For this reason, we need to create an interface that establishes this trust and change any roadblocks that may stand in the way.
Let’s pretend you sell apples at the farmers’ market and typically stack your apples in a pile in a big red crate. On an average weekend you sell 500 apples but a friend tells you about A/B testing so you decide to give it a try. On the following weekend you stack your apples in a pyramid shape in a bright green crate and discovered that you sold 750 apples. The change in the way your apples were displayed convinced more people to buy from you and when you compare this new look to the old, you discover it has increased your sales by 50%.
You should be A/B testing your landing pages in a similar way in order to get the most out of your inbound marketing efforts. Subtle text or color changes can have a huge impact.
What is a landing page?
One of the benefits of using Hubspot to simplify your inbound marketing is how simple they make it to customize what your leads see when they respond to your CTA (call to action). One of the best ways to achieve this is through the use of a landing page.
While there are multiple definitions of the term “landing page” floating around, a Hubspot landing page is a page that has a form and exists only to capture a leads information via said form. It’s often the first or one of the first interactions a new lead has with your business and the information they provide can play an integral role in establishing a lead score. To learn more about lead scoring read, What Exactly is HubSpot Lead Scoring? Everything You Need to Know.
Landing pages are customizable in a variety of ways, which is why you need to be A/B testing them in order to establish the most effective page style for your ideal buyer.
There are a lot of items that you might consider testing on a landing page and if you’re just getting started you might not even be sure what you need to test. But there are three items we will review that are the most important parts of a landing page that you absolutely need to be A/B testing.
A/B Test CTA Button
The success of your CTA (call to action) is determined by how you phrase it, where you place it on the landing page, and the color. As for how you phrase it, you’ll want to take a close look at exactly how you want your leads to interpret your words. There are a dozen different ways to phrase your CTA while still saying the same thing.
For example, your control CTA could say “Start your free 30-day trial” and the test could say “Start my free 30-day trial.”
One or two of these phrases will usually deliver far greater results, so it’s important to A/B test again and again. When testing, ask yourself if it is clear and descriptive enough so people know what to expect when they click on the button.
In addition to the copy of your CTA, placement of your CTA is also very important. It was once believed that your CTA should be placed above the fold (the part of your website that you can see without scrolling down). Depending on the complexity of your product, it’s possible that you’ll need to rethink your strategy. If your leads need to understand more about your product before they feel comfortable enough to complete your CTA, you may want to give them the opportunity to do so by placing your CTA lower on the page. You don’t want to present your CTA before they understand what you’re offering.
The last detail you could A/B test on a CTA button is the color. This is probably the fastest and easiest way to quickly test website visitor response. Consider which colors match your brand and which colors your ideal buyer respond to the most. Do you appeal to mostly female buyers? Is there a color they prefer? Consider the button color, as well as the text color.
A/B Test Images
Images are important when it comes to A/B testing a landing page. An image needs to communicate that which your copy does not, and your image may be turning people away, so choose carefully.
An image just for the sake of having an image may actually be detrimental to your marketing efforts, so get to testing. Also, an image doesn’t necessarily have to be a picture. Placing a logo that generates trust (think BBB or TRUSTe) may generate far better results. Test different images and whether or not your landing page should have an image at all.
A/B Test Headlines
You only get one chance to make a great first impression. As we mentioned when talking about writing CTA copy, the way you phrase your headlines can make or break your landing page.
Write a strong and clear headline (and sub-headline) that generates trust and helps its reader make a decision in the moment. Think you nailed it on the first go? You may be a marketing or linguistic genius, but play along and test it against a few others to make sure you’re getting the most out of your landing page. You could replace the entire headline or only change a few keywords in it.
For example, “Schedule your free strategy session” or “Schedule your free consultation” could have different responses. Your ideal buyer might like strategy session more than consultation. When testing headlines you need to have a deep understanding of your product and who is buying it.
A/B Testing Landing Pages – Best Practices
Run a single test
You want to be able to determine what caused your shift in leads. Don’t A/B test a landing page as you’re testing the method you used to drive the traffic there.
Test a single variable
At least at first you’ll want to make small changes so you can isolate the results from changing a particular headline, image, or CTA.
Test down the sales funnel
Your landing page changes may generate lots of form completions, but are those leads converting to paying customers? Follow the new leads to determine their quality.
Keep running a control
If you want to remove the image from your landing page to test its results you should still be running and testing against the original.
Test at the same time
Testing different pages at different times won’t provide you with an accurate comparison in their efficacy. Hubspot will automatically split the traffic to each variation randomly to ensure the most valuable comparison information.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to marketing. Your business may be nearly identical to a competitors, but if you were to duplicate their landing page strategy you may end up with a far lower conversion rate. Don’t stop testing landing pages either. If you’ve tested your landing page and you’re seeing 18% more form completions, congratulations, but don’t stop there. Things change and there is always room for improvement so keep testing to create the most effective landing page(s) possible.