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.