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by Evan Brett
I’m just going to come out and say it: I love working with landing pages. When you’re developing targeted, demand generation campaigns, there is almost no marketing tool more powerful than an awesome landing page. Landing pages give your audience a concise format to digest your value prop, and, for a small price to pay (i.e. their contact information), they get a cool offer in return.
That said, it can be really tough to maintain and optimize your pages over time - especially when you’re managing tens, if not hundreds, of pages across all of your Google Ad Words, list purchase, and other digital advertising campaigns.
You should refresh your landing pages once a month at minimum. Otherwise, your offers get stale, and repeat page visitors (who never convert) drive your conversion rate way down. But, A/B testing can be intimidating. First, take a deep breath, and map out a plan. For example, I work on one landing page per day so that I can keep the engine running, while also meeting other deadlines.
When you are ready to start A/B testing, check out these 5 tips to help you get started:
- Start with your headline. It’s the first thing page visitors will see, and it will determine whether they read the rest of your page and take any action. Test taglines and keywords, questions vs. statements, short vs. long copy, font size and style, and even placement on the landing page.
- Incorporate and test SEO/SEM keywords. Page visitors are more likely to convert if they see their search term somewhere in your ad copy and landing page. If you need some help with keyword research, check out tools like Google Analytics, Wordstream, or SpyFu.
- Test your lead gen forms. Test short forms vs. long forms, and test required vs. optional fields. If you find your short forms win (in most cases, they will!), make sure you have a good lead nurture strategy in place to capture more information later on in the buyer’s journey.
- Refresh and test your offers. And think about your success metrics, too. Try testing an eBook vs. a demo offer. You may get more leads with the eBook, but you may get more qualified sales opportunities with a demo offer (i.e. someone who’s ready to see or even try your product!).
- Use technology to your advantage. Web services like Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely help you easily set up A/B testing campaigns, and reduce the manual workload on your end. With tools like these, you can launch tests faster and view up-to-date testing results in real time.
We use Marketo for our landing pages because we can integrate directly with our CRM platform and our other Marketing campaigns. Marketo offers a drag-and-drop user interface that makes it especially easy for non-technical users.
But... if you don’t have the budget for a marketing automation system like Marketo, there are lots of vendors out there that can help you spin up new pages quickly and cost-effectively. Check out Unbounce and Optimizely in particular.
The most important thing to remember is to... Keep calm, and test on. You won’t find “the silver tuna” in one day. It will take time to increase your conversion rates. A/B testing is an important first step. Remember that even if a test performs poorly, it’s not a failure. Think of it instead as a learning opportunity: Now you know you don’t need to focus on that particular messaging tagline or form field moving forward. You can move on to bigger and better things!