4 Simple Changes that Boosted Conversions by 1250% [Case Study]

big-mistake

Sending traffic to your website instead of a landing page? Big mistake. (image source)

“When you get to this point, where do you turn for answers?” That was the question posed to me by a prospective client. Her company had been working on a lead-generation landing page project for some time without seeing the level of success they wanted.

I immediately spotted four critical mistakes that I felt contributed to the page’s less-than-2% conversion rate and offered recommendations for improvements. Let me walk you through the simple changes we made to make the leap from 2% conversions to 27% (a 1250% lift!).

The original landing page looked like this:

Landing Page Conversions - BEFORE
Click image for fill size

I know what you’re thinking – that’s not really a landing page. You’re right. VividBoard, which sells customized dry-erase whiteboard manufacturer, was using a standard web page as a landing page.

Big mistake.

During the time we worked together the page shown above was transformed into a proper landing page. Here’s a short list of the issues the page started with:

  • The page had a scattered focus with numerous calls-to-action and other distractions that would tempt the visitor away from completing the most preferred action.
  • The page was way too busy, making it difficult for people to spot the important elements on the page
  • The form on the page asked for too much information and the copy was written almost exclusively about the company, instead of for the site visitor.

4 Tips for Boosting Landing Page Conversions

Here are the recommendations I offered:

1. Do One Thing and Do It Well

The previous “landing page” tried to accomplish too much. In addition to requesting the free ebook, visitors were also given the option to:

  • Call an account manager
  • Like/follow the company on various social media sites
  • Get a free sample
  • Explore all the other pages on the company website

In their purest sense, lead-generation landing pages should offer one choice and one choice only – either to take a specific action or to click through the page. Period.

I suggested VividBoard do just that: offer one call-to-action and eliminate anything else the visitor could do on the page. That way there was a singular goal: lead generation.

2. Create a Fluid Eye Path

If our goal is to have visitors download an ebook and add themselves to the VividBoard list, then all elements on the page should contribute to accomplishing that goal.

The original page had so many colors, images, doodads and whatnots that my eye didn’t know where to look first.

In order to strategically guide leads to the point of conversion (the form), a lot of clutter needed to be removed.

Taking away the navigation bars (top and left side), social media icons and the account manager phone number accomplished this.

This way, the purple form below the pink call-to-action gave just enough color contrast in the right places to create a fluid eye path.

3. Optimize Forms for Conversions

Have you ever been asked to fill out a detailed form on a website you weren’t familiar with? To say you were hesitant would probably be an understatement. Yet, as marketers we regularly ask our visitors to do something we wouldn’t want to do.

When optimizing forms for conversions, ask yourself this: What information do we absolutely have to have to complete this step?

It’s not about what information you ultimately want to collect. It’s about getting someone who doesn’t know you to take a first step.

On lead-generation forms, nine times out of 10 you only need a name and email address. After you get the prospect on your list, you can continue to communicate and collect other data.

4. Create Landing Pages FOR Customers, Not ABOUT Your Company

Half the copy on the first version of VividBoard’s landing page was about VividBoard.

I know, I know… we want to tell visitors how wonderful we are and why they should choose us.

Frankly, at this point, they don’t care. They are looking for a solution to their immediate problem, not to build a relationship with a company. (That comes later… hopefully!)

Prospects came to this landing page via a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. The ad copy read:

landing-page-example-PPC-ad

All they wanted was the free whiteboard ebook that was promised. That was it at this phase of the game. The landing page copy needed to focus on solving the lead’s problem, not on VividBoard itself.

Once we’re at it, let’s take a quick look at the ad copy. If the primary purpose of the ad is to attract people who would benefit from the free ebook, the ebook should be mentioned in the headline. And unless there’s a way for searchers to get the free ebook via telephone, I’d remove the phone number from this ad as well.

The Big Reveal

So, after making a few alterations to the original page, what did the revised landing page look like?

Here’s the version that took VividBoard from a 2% to 27% conversion rate (a 1250% lift):

Landing Page Conversions - AFTER

It’s short, goal-oriented and converts like nobody’s business.

Is your lead-generation landing page performing poorly? Applying these simple fixes could put you on the road to higher conversions.

– Karon Thackston

About The Author

Photo of Karon Thackston

Karon Thackston is President of Marketing Words, a full-service web copywriting agency specializing in conversion-oriented landing pages and SEO copywriting. She has contributed to the success of companies including Gorton's Seafood, American Boating Association and Entertainment.com. Get Karon’s weekly web copywriting newsletter, offering real-world help & how-tos for boosting conversions, increasing search rankings & developing better landing pages.
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Comments

  1. Iulian says:

    The example you used is awful, no wonder you lift it up by 1250%. I like to see a case study for a decent LP.

  2. LOL… the original had a definite list of challenges. Unfortunately, this is extremely common. Many website owners mistake “landing page” has a synonym for “web page” and create campaigns that go to ordinary pages on their sites just like the original version in this case study. It’s amazing the huge improvements that can be accomplished when site owners receive a bit of marketing education and some best practices are applied.

  3. David says:

    No need to be so harsh.

    Karon’s point definitely stands. Many websites that could benefit from basic conversion optimization advice fall in the category of the site she analyzed : terribly designed websites with messy layouts, conflicting messaging that goes nowhere, bad usability, you name it.

    It’s nice to find deeper insights that can help you beat already high-performing controls, but simply applying best practices can help smaller businesses go a long way.

    • Correct, David. Smaller companies that are not working with an ad agency or have their own in-house marketing department have to start somewhere to learn good landing page practices. Nobody starts at an advanced level.

  4. Ryan Engley says:

    Regardless of how poor or high quality the original example might be (yes, it looks like 1999 Geocities), this post tackles something that I encounter every single day: marketers sending traffic to their website, rather than a landing page.

    It might seem like a no-brainer but for a lot of folks, it isn’t.

    And even for marketers who *know* how to use landing pages, it can often be hard to convince clients or stakeholders that landing pages are needed.

    I’d have been curious to see the test evolve and see 1. what conversion lift would come from removing the side and top nav bars 2. the results from optimizing the form and 3. the copy changes etc.

    I also hear a lot of marketers ask how they can add/preserve their site’s nav bar on their landing pages but this example shows that preserving that navigation isn’t optimal for conversion. The attention ratio plummets when all focus should be on your singular call to action as proven here.

    • I’m seeing the same thing, Ryan. We had one shot at this so we had to throw everything at it that we could or, I agree, it would have been interesting to watch the steps unfold.

  5. Nick says:

    Looks like VividBoard regressed and changed up the landing page to ask for more information from prospects. The “Final” version does not appear on their site.

    • No, Nick, they did not revert. The landing page is not accessible via the website’s navigation any longer. Whatever you’re seeing on the site itself (maybe the newsletter sign up form?) isn’t related to the PPC campaign discussed in the article. Granted, they could benefit from changing that page as well.

  6. Lance Jones says:

    While the original page could be called “awful”, its results were fairly typical… i.e., 2% conversion. However, the outcome of the optimization is worth noting and unpacking… 27% is certainly nothing to scoff at, no matter how skilled you feel you are as a writer/designer. :-)

    • Exactly, Lance. And the more Vividboard continues to test and tweak, they can likely better their results further still. Like with so many others, this was a huge learning experience for them and the starting point on a business lifetime of understanding and correctly using landing pages.

  7. Sai Krishna says:

    Finally after reading your post, I learnt that landing should be simple and beautiful to attract and converts visitors into buyers. Thanks for your awesome explanation with screenshots.

  8. edwin says:

    Great article. Clarity of purpose is everything. This is not just true for landing pages, but also true for any normal web page in my opinion (nav elements notwithstanding). Clarity of purpose on a standard Web page is also fantastic for SEO right? (Whatever that means today ;)

  9. Deepak says:

    Really you wrote a very informative and useful post. I am also facing low conversion rate problem with my blog. I have read your some other posts regarding CTR and trying to implement your tips. I will follow these 4 simple changes to boost my conversion rate. Thanks for sharing such a awesome post.

  10. Ed says:

    Maybe I’m thick, but how does 2% to 27% conversion translate to 1250% ?

    In my mind, that is a 25% conversion rate lift, what am I missing here? :)

    • Hi Ed. We aren’t adding or subtracting. Calculating the difference in lift uses multiplication. 27% is almost 13 times more than 2%. (I rounded down.) So, in actual numbers, if you take .02 and multiply by 1350 you get 27%.

  11. Ed says:

    Hi Karen,

    Thank you for the clarification.

    I see now how the numbers are calculated, While they do add up, it’s a way of saying the same thing,.. (25% more conversions) only now a bigger number can be used … and big numbers sounds good ;)