You’re Only as Good as Your Last Conversion Rate

By | Google+ , April 23rd, 2012 in Conversion | 4 comments
Don’t sit back and lean on your last great achievement. You can always improve on your page and especially it’s headline. (Original image source)

The goal of your landing page is simple. Conversions.

But what if you’ve developed a landing page that’s converting really well, but you’re at the point where you’ve resorted to just testing little tweaks to try and eek out a little more performance?

The danger of tweaking your landing pages

Tweaking is rarely effective. (Image source)

There are hundreds of things you can fiddle with when you’re optimizing a landing page, and each one has the potential to affect your stats and, eventually, your bottom line – or screw it up royally.

Why tweaking can be tough:

  1. It can ruin an otherwise successful page.
  2. It can feel futile if things don’t go your way, making you devalue the purpose of testing.
  3. It’s not as easy as you’d think. Making effective changes requires insight into your customers which can take time to research.

There are only a few changes likely to have a significant impact on your conversion rates. And once your page is to the point where tweaks are only creating miniscule improvements, you’re going to want to consider moving on to bigger and better things.

Here they are:


Writing a completely different headline

Captivating headlines make all the difference. (Image source).

Tweaking a word or two can have a dramatic effect on your conversion rate, no doubt about it. But once you’ve nailed a solid headline that’s consistently drawing an audience, those little adjustments can do more harm than good.

Consider these instead:

  1. What if you crafted an entirely new headline focused on appealing to a different demographic segment of your target audience? Create a new landing page targeted at just your female customers for instance, I guarantee that they will respond differently to male-centric messaging. Check out the first 2 landing pages here as an example of the same product targeted in 2 ways.
  2. What about tying your product to an up-to-the-second breaking news story to make it more current? This will get you more click-throughs to the page from an ad.
  3. What about re-wording a statement as a question? Adding a questions mark has shown open-rate improvements in email marketing as it adds an element of curiosity.

Check out this case study run by Marketing Profs on headline testing which increased leads by 27.76%.

The headline is the single most important factor in any direct response media, and landing pages are no different. No other factor can make or break a landing page’s conversion rate like the headline can.


Test Video vs. Text

changing from visual/video communication to text works for some - and it's the reverserse for othere. (Image source)

Many products or services lend themselves well to images and video (SaaS busineses that need product demos for instance) so a video-focused landing page makes great sense.

But, it’s important to remember that people learn and come to decisions in different ways. Some of your visitors may do better with text (if they need to be coerced and told a story that leads then to the conversion (think long sales letter). It’s like swimming the Atlantic, once you’re 70% of the way there you may as well keep swimming/reading. That’s how they get you.

So if your current landing page consists of a headline and an above-the-fold video, with little or no text below it, and it’s converting well, that’s awesome.

But you’re next test should probably be developing a text-heavy version of the same page (kinda like this section!), designed specifically to appeal to that section of your audience who prefers that method. Maybe even use a typewriter! (Then scan it, get it transcribes and post the poorly translated language – but hey! who doesn’t love a good old clickety-clack once in a while.).


Change your content entirely (wassat!)

Maybe your customers like new stuff too! (Image source)

Developing a landing page is not quick, easy or fun. (Unless you use a tool like Unbounce of course – which is quick easy AND fun ;)

When you’ve got a page that’s converting well, your first tendency is to leave it alone (it’s not like you’ll get any help from I.T. to make new changes anyway).

But how about rewriting the whole thing?

When you were in the brainstorming stage of creating your landing page, you likely considered and scrapped several concepts, settling on the one you now have. And it’s doing well. But how can you be absolutely sure that your #2 option – the one you ended up having to flip a coin over to decide on #1 – won’t do better?

If you’re honest with yourself, the only real answer to that question is to test it. And you can only do that if you put the effort into writing and designing a new page around that concept.

So what’s stopping you?


Your last conversion rate – no such thing

In online marketing, you’re only as good as your last conversion rate. Which is why we keep testing, rethinking, and re-testing again.

So, with that in mind, take a fresh look at those landing pages that are doing really well and ask yourself again: what’s the goal of this page?

And then ask yourself: am I absolutely sure there isn’t a better way to accomplish that goal than the page I’m running right now?

Do you have any good testing stories to share?

– Oli Gardner

About The Author

Photo of Oli Gardner

Co-Founder of Unbounce. Oli has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He is an opinionated writer and international speaker on Conversion Centered Design. You should follow Oli on Twitter
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Comments

  1. Nice Post Oli,
    I would agree the headline is the single most important factor for landing pages. Videos can really work great on landing pages or sales pages we have used Video for a few different sales pitches and it has worked well when the video is personal for us. I would also add that split testing is a good way to find out what works and what does not.

    • Oli Gardner says:

      Thanks Matt. Headlines are so key for message match, AdWords Quality Score, and most importantly visitor communication. Testing them is key.

      and yeah, video rocks.

  2. [...] You’re Only as Good as Your Last Conversion Rate by Unbounce [...]

  3. Bobby Hewitt says:

    Oli,
    Great stuff. Your insights in your Video vs. Text scenario are spot on. One strategy I’ve been using is to first optimize a long form sales letter then convert that letter into video while offering alternative text at a designated point in the video and a quick link to a transcript page for those more interested in reading, if that’s their preferred modality of consuming information.

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