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A Case Study in Landing Page Optimization: How to Double the Impact of Your Budget

by Bob Hebeisen  |  
November 15, 2011
  |  12,954 views

In this article, you'll learn...

  • An example of how an optimized landing page nearly doubled conversions
  • Six detailed steps for optimizing your landing page to produce results

I just finished a landing page optimization project for Alpha Software. The company relies heavily on a 30-day free trial of its Alpha Five database software, and then works to convert trial downloaders to purchasers via email marketing and inside-sales calling.

The results of the A/B split test on the company's landing page came back recently, and I am pleased to report that the optimized version is converting pay-per-click (PPC) clicks to free-trial downloaders at double the rate of the original landing page:

  • Original landing page: 393 clicks at a cost of $670.53, converting to 20 downloads (5.1% conversion rate, $33.53 per converted lead)
  • Optimized landing page: 386 clicks at a cost of $676.23, converting to 39 downloads (10.1% conversion rate, $17.34 per converted lead)

 With almost the same media investment, Alpha is now driving nearly twice as many leads!

Here is a SlideShare presentation (watch it in full-screen mode) that documents what changes I made and why:

I applied the following six landing page optimization principles to this task.


1. Control the flow

You should design your landing page to function like a cattle chute, making your offer or call-to-action (CTA) the only possible path through the page. Sorry, I know that is a crude analogy for your prospects and customers! But your landing page will be much more successful at converting clicks to leads if you eliminate links that allow visitors to navigate away from the page:

  • Eliminate top and side navigation. Even the top and side navigation bars that are parts of your website's template should be eliminated from your landing page. That approach is a really hard thing for Web designers and bloggers to wrap their heads around because their main mission is to encourage free flow of traffic across the site. But giving prospects an easy way to navigate to other content on your website is in conflict with your mission to get them to respond to your CTA.
  • Eliminate extraneous navigation. Alpha's original landing page had a bunch of magazine review quotes at the bottom of the page that included hyperlinks to the actual articles. Including the quotes and logos was a good idea (see principle 3: "dispel anxiety"), but I eliminated the hyperlinks.

2. Sell your CTA


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Bob Hebeisen is a Boston-based marketing professional with over 20 years of experience as a practitioner and team manager in B2B technology marketing. Reach him via LinkedIn and his blog.

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  • by Alan Belniak Tue Nov 15, 2011 via web

    Nice analysis, Bob. And that's precisely what it is: analysis. Many of us can look at one page and say, "That's not working quite the way I wanted it to." It takes a roll-up-your-sleeves review of this, and some testing, as you've pointed out, to discern those differences.

  • by Bob Hebeisen Tue Nov 15, 2011 via web

    Thanks, Alan. That's the great thing about Landing Page Optimization: it is relatively easy to set up A/B tests and the results are typically easy to read.

    What do you think I should test next? I think results could be improved by making the "download" button more prominent (bigger, bolder, colored red). Anything else stand out as a good thing to test?

  • by Stephen Davies Sat Nov 19, 2011 via web

    That is what I have said from when I first started building sites. Show them what they want when the page loads and let them see how to act ad why they should.
    I would never use PPC on priciple, but have to objection to using oyther Peeps ads on my site lol.

  • by Bob Hebeisen Sat Nov 19, 2011 via web

    Thanks for your comment, Stephen. Note that the results listed above were from PPC traffic, but this page is also hooked into the regular navigation of Alpha's website (when you are on their website and you click the "Free Trial" link, it takes you to this landing page). So *in addition* to the improved results from their PPC campaign, they are experiencing increased conversion and increased lead flow from their regular site navigation and from SEO traffic to this page.

  • by Stephen Davies Sat Nov 19, 2011 via web

    So principle is, no links visible above the crease n te homepage for me. I use the principle which I now see on SE's of wht you see in the search results is not always what you hink will be seen. But once you see which part of page ilisted in description, you can oprimise tht area to be read and displayed. Correct or not? I am still learning after 10 Years, but think I am doing it right now?

  • by Stephen Davies Sat Nov 19, 2011 via web

    My apologies for typos, but I cannot correct once they are made.

  • by Bob Hebeisen Sun Nov 20, 2011 via web

    Stephen, I think it is important to distinguish landing pages from every other page on your website. For landing pages it is important to restrict navigation options. That is not necessarily true for all other pages on your website. For example, if you were to remove the top and side navigation from all the pages on your website it would be a site navigation and SEO disaster, but it is something you *should* do only for your landing pages where you are promoting a specific offer.

  • by Stacie @ WomanInLeadership.com Tue May 15, 2012 via mobile

    Bob,

    This is a good read!

    The fomula of an effective landing page is simple and always work.

    We, as marketers, seem to complicate things for our target audience and for ourselves.

    You did an great job at improving your landing page.

    I agree with you when you said that we can always improve on our techniques by split testing.

    Continue to press on and realize your dreams!

    Best,

    Stacie Walker
    Woman In Leadership Founder

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