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Landing Page AB Testing [Ultimate Guide]

Testing Landing Pages
Reading Time: 11 minutes

If you’re not testing your inbound marketing efforts, you’re 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 buyer persona.

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 Landing Page AB Testing, Exactly?

Landing page AB 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 stacked 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 utilizing landing page AB testing in a similar way to get the most out of your inbound marketing efforts. Subtle text or color changes can have a considerable impact, as we’ll talk more about a bit later.

What is a Landing Page?

One of the benefits of using Hubspot to simplify your inbound marketing is how simple they make it for you 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. Let’s walk through the basics so you can start to get a feel of what an effective landing page should be.

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 lead’s information via the 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 you can read What is HubSpot Lead Scoring? Everything You Need to Know.

This part of the website is customizable in a variety of ways, which is why you need to be A/B testing these landing pages 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. We’ll review the elements that are most critical to a landing page and that you need to be A/B testing.

What’s a Conversion Rate and How to Measure When AB Testing Landing Pages

Every landing page needs an incentive so your audience will take the desired action. Your conversion rate will tell you how well your incentive is received. For instance, finding a low conversion rate when AB testing landing pages could mean that something is wrong, so utilizing this can help point you in the direction of how to fix things.

A low conversion rate could be that your topic of choice, headline, or CTA (call-to-action) doesn’t resonate with your audience like you thought it would, or maybe prospects aren’t being reached at the right point in the conversion funnel.

The equation is quite simple. To calculate your conversion rate, the two pieces of information you need to gather are: how many people visited your landing page, and how many people converted on your offer once there. Divide the number of leads that converted by the number of total visitors and multiply the result by 100, giving you the percentage.

Do consider that perspective can be a slippery slope when it comes to your satisfaction with this percentage. While it’s true that you should always be striving for improvement, it’s best to compare these measurements with where you’ve been and where you are now, to get where you’re going – not to compare with other businesses but industry benchmarks. To hit your KPIs and continually learn from your efforts you need to understand how your offer is resonating with your ideal audience and continuously learn from your changes and updates.

How to Go About Actually Performing Your Landing Page AB Testing

How to Go About Actually Performing Your Landing Page AB Testing

Now that you’ve learned a little more about the “why” behind doing this, as mentioned, there are several key parts to put it into play:

  • Landing Page AB Testing CTA Button
  • Landing Page AB Testing Images
  • Landing Page AB Testing Headlines
  • Landing Page AB Testing Copy
  • Landing Page AB Testing Form Inputs

We’ve provided further resources in some of the sections so you can dive even deeper into the parts you feel you need more information on, and let this serve as a comprehensive guide.

Landing Page AB Testing of the CTA Button

You determine the success of your CTA by how you phrase it, where you place it on the landing page, and even 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 essential to be sure you’re AB testing landing pages again and again and not assuming you’re done after the first go-around. When carrying out your landing page AB testing, ask yourself if the message and wording are clear and descriptive enough, so people know what to expect when they click on the button.

In addition to the copy of your CTA, the placement of your CTA is also very important when it comes to AB testing landing pages. It was once believed that your CTA should be 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 click on your CTA, you may want to allow them 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 design component. Changing the design is probably the fastest and easiest way to test the website visitor response quickly. Consider which colors match your brand and which colors your ideal buyer may respond to the most. Do you appeal to mostly female buyers? Is there a color they prefer?

Research has been done on how certain colors affect emotion, such as the psychology behind orange, which is said to be attention-grabbing and evoke feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth. So, be sure you consider the button color, as well as the text color.

Landing Page AB Testing for Images

As you may have begun to realize from that last section, aesthetics are important when it comes to AB testing landing pages. Your selected imagery needs to communicate that which your copy cannot – and your chosen image may be turning people away, so choose carefully.

Using an image just for the sake of having an image may 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 produce far better results.

Try out different images, or even video, the use of which has been growing in popularity – and test whether or not your landing page should have imagery, at all. The inclusion of imagery or lack-there-of should be strategic, similarly to the most critical components of your landing page, especially for the next part.

Landing Page AB Testing Your 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 is something that can make or break your landing page.

Write a strong, clear headline (and sub-headline) that generates trust and helps its readers make a decision. Think you nailed it on the first go? Regardless of whether you consider yourself a marketing expert or linguistic genius, humor us and work on AB testing landing pages 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. While it may seem to be an insignificant difference to you at first glance, your ideal buyer might like strategy session more than consultation.

Keep in mind; it’s about customer experience, so you’ll need to focus on customer preference – not necessarily your own. When testing headlines, you need to have a deep understanding of your product and who is buying it. Try putting yourself in your target persona’s shoes throughout this AB testing process.

Landing Page AB Testing of Your Copy

For the copy, you want to take an approach that plays on emotion, just like we learned for the imagery component of landing page AB testing. Ultimately, you’re ideally solving a problem for prospects when they purchase your product or service and eventually become a customer. Again, it’s all about the feelings of these customers.

Write copy that will make them have to stop and read because something is pulling at their heartstrings. Aim to stop people in their tracks, with a power similar to the smell of your favorite baked goods freshly coming out of the oven – craft your wording in a way that is too irresistible to ignore. Say something meaningful, every time. Don’t merely put page-filler, as this will be a waste of space and not provide potential value.

You can even include any glowing customer reviews you may have. Prospects tend to more heavily trust a business’s current customers over what the company says about itself.

You also don’t want to pay too much attention to some parts of your landing page copy and ignore others. For example, no matter how excited you might be about what you wrote for what makes up the majority of your page’s copy, if the headline fails to pull them in – yes, something as short as a headline – it won’t matter what you wrote on the rest of the page. They might not even continue to see it.

As we heard in the previous chapter: headlines might be small, but they’re mighty.

Your body copy is complemented by the other bits and pieces that form the complete puzzle that is your landing page. Similarly, if your headline manages to get people in successfully, and your body copy convinces them to stay, but then they don’t take your desired action, what’s the point? In this case, it would seem that your CTA copy needs some work.

The headline, body copy, and CTA are all critical components. They must work together, and you’ll find out how they best do this when you do your landing page AB testing.

Landing Page AB Testing for Form Inputs

When it comes to the form, you’ll typically include on your landing page; there are best practices for that, as well. You’ll want to consider things like how many fields you should use in a form and what you should ask in those fields. While a name and email address might be adequate for something as simple as a signup to join your newsletter or mailing list, you should be collecting more on a comprehensive downloadable content offer.

Expect to make a trade of value, as you’re delivering value to the prospect. In turn, you should be receiving value for your marketing efforts – and information is gold.

Aside from the written component, like what creative or attention-grabbing copy you’ll come up with for your button, remember that it would also do you well to pay attention to aesthetics when thinking about landing page AB testing. If you recall from earlier in this article, the right colors are more likely to draw people in and make them want to read more.

Don’t forget to consider optimizing for mobile, as studies show that the majority of people are now browsing the internet via cell phone.

Make necessary adjustments so that a page visitor doesn’t get frustrated. You want to keep them happy, so they stay on your site longer. Take notice of things like font sizes and other layout components – just because something was easy to read, scroll through, and type on when you tested your landing page using a desktop computer, doesn’t mean it will work as smoothly and conveniently for eyes and fingers on a small touch screen.

Landing Page AB Testing Best Practices

Here are some of our best tips and tricks you’ll want to follow when jumping in and putting everything to the test. The only way to know what’s working and what could be working even better is by looking at the numbers when conducting your landing page AB testing.

Run a Single Test at a Time

You want to be able to determine what caused your shift in leads. Refrain from AB testing landing pages as you’re testing the method you used to drive the traffic there. You’ll need to be able to focus on each test to get the most accurate and helpful results.

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. If while AB testing landing pages you’re looking at too much at once, things can quickly get confusing and not realize what made the positive impact.

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.

The funnel exists for a reason, and as someone experienced in marketing and sales, like yourself, you know how significant it is to make sure the right people are seeing the right thing, at the right time.

Keep Running a Control

Let’s say, you want to remove an image as part of your landing page AB testing, you should still be running and testing against the original. That’s how you’ll see a change.

Test At the Same Time

Testing different pages at different times won’t provide you with an accurate comparison of their efficacy. Hubspot will automatically split the traffic to each variation randomly to ensure the most valuable comparison information.

Tools for Landing Page AB Testing

Luckily, there are a lot of options available to aid in tackling your landing page AB testing. The following are what Hubspot considers to be among the top A/B testing tools for 2019:

  • VMO

VMO is trusted by over 4,500 brands including Target and eBay and is best for enterprise brands, with a G2Crowd Rating of 4.2/5.0.

  • Optimizely

They have a couple dozen Fortune 100 companies in their customer base, and a G2Crowd Rating of 4.3/5.0.

  • Omniconvert

Ideal for medium-sized businesses, this one’s packed with lots of features and has a G2Crowd Rating of 4.5/5.0.

  • Crazy Egg

A great small business tool which includes helpful features such as heat mapping, and a 4.0/5.0 G2Crowd Rating.

  • AB Tasty

Suited for a medium-sized business, this one is used by brands like Ugg and Sephora, with a G2Crowd rating of 4.4/5.0.

  • Freshmarketer

Has a G2Crowd Rating of 4.5/5.0 and is the marketing arm of the Freshworks platform. If your business is on the smaller side, this could be right for you.

  • Convert

Small businesses might like this one. It can be integrated with many other top marketing tools, which is handy since you probably have some favorites you’re using that you don’t want to give up. Their G2Crowd Rating is 4.7/5.0 and clients include Unicef and Sony.

These will help you more effortlessly do what needs to be done. Don’t try to keep track of things manually. There are so many robust platforms available for this exact purpose – and being chock-full of intuitive testing features, it should remove a lot of work from the equation for you and, again, make sure everything stays accurate.

Takeaways: Why Landing Page AB Testing Matters

The goal of landing page AB testing is not merely to get an increase in sales but to achieve learning. With this knowledge, you can understand the intent of your prospective buyers and create an experience that predicts behavior. For improved conversion rates, don’t rely on a great design or expert copy, alone.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to marketing. Your business may be nearly identical to competitors, but if you were to duplicate their landing page strategy, you might end up with a far lower conversion rate.

Don’t stop testing landing pages either. If you’ve checked your landing page and you see 18% more form completions, congratulations, but don’t stop there. Things change, and there is always room for improvement – keep doing landing page AB testing to ensure your pages are as effective as possible.

If you’re serious about learning to create content that drives traffic and convert leads, then download this powerful free guide. Don’t be shy to call 415-365-7122 if you feel like you need to reach out to a consultant for assistance with any part of what we’ve covered in this guide.

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Written by

Vanessa Rodriguez Lang

President, Co-founder

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