[AMA] I’m Oli Gardner, Co-Founder of Unbounce. Ask Me Anything


Fun fact: I’ve seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet, and part of that painstaking and often nosebleed-inducing exercise is that I get to see some really cool and awful things.

If you’re running marketing campaigns – and who isn’t amirite? – then landing pages matter to you.

On September 25th, we asked our readers if they had a conversion question burning a hole in their brain pocket. Nothing was off limits; did readers wanna know about that time I almost got trampled by bison? Or maybe they heard I just wrote an ebook on Attention-Driven Design and wanted to chat about how data and design can work together?

I was an open book. And you can read all the questions and answers below.

Psst: Stay tuned for more AMAs with marketing and conversion optimization experts. Just sign up for the blog to learn when it’s happening next.

About Oli Gardner
Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He’s obsessed with identifying and reversing bad marketing practices, and his disdain for marketers who send campaign traffic to their homepage is legendary, resulting in landing page rants that can peel paint off an unpainted wall. A prolific international keynote speaker, Oli is on a mission to rid the world of marketing mediocrity by using data-informed copywriting, design, interaction, and psychology to create a more delightful experience for marketers and customers alike. He was recently named the "The 2018 Marketer to Watch," in the under 46 category, by his mother.
» More blog posts by Oli Gardner


  1. Andy Crestodina

    I’ve got a question for your, Oli.

    Is there a time to de-optimize a process? A time to add friction, make something harder? How do you feel about unsubscribe or cancellation processes that are difficult to complete. Should marketers make them intentionally so?

    I’d love to hear your insights on this…

    • Oli Gardner

      Hey Andy,
      Awesome question. There absolutely is. It’s all about designing experience to acquire you *ideal* customer as opposed to just more leads. But it depends on what you’re doing.

      For an ebook you probably want as many email addresses as possible, but for something more valuable, more data on the prospect is preferred.

      A perfect example that you may have heard me speak about is our hiring process as Unbounce where we don’t accept resumes, and ask that folks build a landing page to tell us why we should hire them. This removes those who aren’t committed or genuinely interested. I’d place this as one of the main reasons we’ve got an incredible culture here.

      Another example of designing for ideal is choosing the right field label for email address. I’ve found that using “business email address” yields significantly more pro email addresses name@companyname.com that just “email address”.

      Interesting that you mention unsubscribe. I think to be a strong and delightful brand it should be as easy as possible. HubSpot have a wonderful unsubscribe page with a video on it.

      While look at example landing pages in our database, I saw an outlier lead gen (or just a form) page that had a 65% conversion rate. Turns out it was an unsub page which is super interesting that it wasn’t closer to 100%.

  2. Subhendu Pattnaik

    Hi Oli,

    We are seeing a good number of footfalls to the page but not much conversions. Would you be able to dissect the landing page and let us know where we are doing glaringly wrong. I am struggling with this question for about a month or so now.


    • Oli Gardner

      If you can include a link to the page along with details of where your traffic is coming from and what your ads look like I’ll take a look.

  3. Marisa

    Hi Oli,

    I’m wondering what to do when you think you’ve reached your conversion limit? Do you restart from scratch and see if you can outdo yourself? If you’ve tested headline, hero shot, the form, buttons, copy and colors where do you go next? Or do you use what has worked best and keep trying to reconfigure? Would love to hear your thoughts!

    • Oli Gardner

      This is why you do conversion research, to uncover questions and pain points that you might not have been considering. The reason for a conversion might be something you’ve not considered, and your headline and CTA might be great, but if you don’t speak to the needs of the visitor you’ll fail.

      And yes, typically when you’ve plateaued, you’ll want to consider a redesign based on your research.

  4. Andres

    How important is the length time of time an A/B split test runs, even if it reaches significance, in the sense of allowing for the “new feature” factor. i.e. People getting used to or even trusting a new feature / layout may take time.

    So in the short term it may register as a fail but in the longer term it could be a win but an A/B test may not allow for this.

    Is it always worth doing a short term and longer term test in your experience to allow for this?

    • Oli Gardner

      First of all you need to make sure it runs long enough that you are seeing accurate results, this wold typically be 2-4 weeks, and you shouldn’t be calling a test done until you’ve waited that long, and achieved the right sample size for the test (which should be calculated in advance) and then finally statistical significance. Don’t calla test when you see 95% or 99% when it’s early as that’s a false positive.

      However, you also don’t want to let it run too long (say 2 months) as that can lead to pollution because cookies expire and someone might see a different variant on a subsequent visit.

      In terms of the long terms vs. short term impact – that’s when you want to look at a cohort analysis in your analytics program (KISSmetrics does this), so you can see which variant is producing the right type of customer.

      We’ve run tests on our pricing page where a variant lost by a small margin, but it increased activation in the ideal pricing plan.

  5. Alex Cox

    Are you going to searchlove this year? If so make sure we catch up at the bar and have a beer again!

  6. Daniel Gillen

    What’s the best unbounce created landing page you’ve seen?

    What other tools do you see agencies who use unbounce use a lot. (hope that makes sense).

    Why does Google rank unbounce pages so poorly? Like a one page wordpress v a one page unbounce site and the WP will outrank easily.

    What role do you place on diet nutrition and exercise in your day to day life?

    • Oli Gardner

      Hi Daniel,
      There have been so many Unbounce pages – over 1,000,000, but honestly I think one of my favourites was the one Michael Aaagaard created as part of the application process when we hired him recently. (See the answer to Crestodina’s question for details on that process).

      It was a great example of information hierarchy – telling a story in the right order – before asking for the conversion (which was planted right at the end of the page). It also had incredible copy.


      I liked the page so much we made it a template inside Unbounce – called Persuasion.

      Regarding the ranking, do you mean organic SERP listing or paid? Can you send me two examples?

      I’m not the healthiest to be honest, although I’m weirdly specific in what I can eat (I have food phobias) so I tend to not eat a lot of unhealthy things like a lot of sauces.

      Red wine is my heart-healthy drink of choice :)

      • Oli Gardner

        In terms of tools that agencies are using, there’s a pretty broad mix or optimization and marketing automation toolsets. Here are some examples:

        Campaign Monitor
        Moz analytics
        Crazy Egg
        Asana and Basecamp for project management

  7. Tammy

    When it comes to mobile optimization, what are the top 5 things you look at for opportunities to test / improve?

  8. Daniel Hilsden

    Hi Oli,

    Spent the last year or so reading and lurking around the unbounce blog – really enjoy the bluntness used to highlight facepalm issues with page copy and messaging.

    Really hilarious stuff in most cases!

    My question for you:

    How would you work on optimising an e-commerce website? Would you go through the item selection and checkout process first, or start at the checkout page and work backwards?



    • Oli Gardner

      Thanks Dan,
      I’d start with watching user session recordings (Clicktale or Hotjar). As I mentioned in another answer, you can also look at step drop flow to see if the friction is on the selection page or further down the funnel. Start your optimization at the point with the most potential (the place with the highest abandonment).

      Watch Michael Aagaard’s CTA Conf talk.

  9. Vadim Leontyev

    Hi Oli,

    Big fan of Unbounce’s and your work here.

    I wanted to get your perspective on how to deal with clients who had gone through a complete site redesign, but unsuccessfully. (site looks cleaner, but conversion orientation and user friendliness are out the window)
    Hence any landing page CRO suggestions are scrutinized and are welcomed with a lot of skepticizm.

    Would love to hear your thoughts.


    • Oli Gardner

      Unfortunately that’s probably pretty common if the site was redesigned based on whim, or vanity, or to give it a “refresh”. I’ve been through all of the above in my career.

      When doing a redesign you need to have some pretty strong inputs to justify changing things. When we redesigned our site recently to keep it in line with how our brand has developed (and get rid of my shitty coding from way back in the day), we had a strong mandate to not change the content – all copy had to remain, and visual assets had to try and come as close as possible (not always possible) to what they were previously. Now that we’ve got it in place we’re ready to test things that matter.

      Having written that I think I get your question now. The redesign failed, so they don’t want to listen to any more advice on improving the site.

      It’s a common thread throughout the whole AMA here, and you need to show them with real evidence (ideally video) of what the problems are, and show them how your ideas will remove those evident pains. It’ll be tough considering the failed redesign, but it’s one step at a time. Try to find one big opportunity and get their buy-in for improving that. But make sure you present strong evidence of the problem and come with a solution – not just a “it’s all broken” story.

  10. Tom

    Michael Aagaard is new senior conversion optimizer at Unbounce. Is he good employee or he is too rebellious? :D

    Btw. New ADD ebook is really great, but damn…that Taylor Swift song was in head for days. :D

    • Oli Gardner

      Michael is a badass of the highest order :)
      One thing I’m noticing is how passionate and committed he is. The level of conversion research he does is quite inspiring and is leading to awesome results already in the optimization he’s doing on our landing pages and website.

  11. Joe Faillace

    Hello Oli,

    I recently stumbled upon your website and was blown away.

    (For those of you reading and wondering what was so novel about Oli’s site, STOP. You need to see and experience his website: http://www.OliGardner.com )

    Oli, your story was immersive. As someone who appreciates visual storytelling, you hit the bulls eye.

    1) You opened up so much “space” to experience your visual story. It was nearly inception. At the least, you designed one hell of an art installation. I mean installation because many times you lead us to visualize dimensions that were deeply hidden – exemplified masterfully in the Bryce Canyon Cloud Inversion scene.

    2) The beauty of reading was that your story’s voice and auditory experience was optimized – we all read and heard the experience through our own voice and sound effects. Can we anticipate a remastered version with Morgan Freeman’s narrative?

    3) You left me twisted. As I neared the final slides the anticipation for your call-to-action was palpable! Then it was over. Just over. You deprived us of a call to action and without one now I feel intrinsically compelled to come back in the near future…Well done!

    What was your thought process behind creating this experience? What insights into optimized visual storytelling guided you? What’s next?

    Tip of the cap,

    Joe Faillace

  12. Stephan Hovnanian

    Hi Oli,

    I’ve seen you twice now at conferences in the same yellow t-shirt…is it a lucky shirt for you? Do you ever test which shirt gets the highest # of social media posts when you’re speaking?

    (hey you said anything goes! See you in October at MarketingProfs B2B Forum!)

    • Oli Gardner

      Haha. Yeah I tend to wear the same thing on stage each time as it’s kinda like my mojo. It used to be a blazer and white t-shirt, then the Hendrix shirt felt a bit more rock n roll and *me*. And of course I only wear my red shoes when I’m on stage.

      The next iteration is going to be the blazer with a white Hendrix t-shirt :)

      See you in Boston!

    • Ryan Mv

      Oli you should do some A/B testing to improve your social engagement :P #OliSpicingThingsUpWithGreen #TapDancingShoes

    • master

      Thank you for the valuable comments..All I can say that i really enjoyed reading this amazing post.

  13. Eric Bischoff

    You and your team do a great job explaining how to get great results ie conversion results.
    I would be interested in knowing what you do to get your brain converted from everyday life to “Game On!”. Many successful creative professionals have a ritual (i.e. routine), that they stick to that helps them get into their ideal state of mind. What is yours?

  14. Blaiklock

    Question is twofold; I apologize for my selfishness :)

    With a project that has previously tested landing pages where the introduction of many best practices has – purely in terms of conversion rate – not been more successful than the (theoretically poor) pre-existing design. With a limited window to prove value – how would you approach this campaign? With wholesale changes or restarting the incremental introduction of best practices?

    Lastly, when using a paginated capture form where the extent that a user fills out the form rates users in a CRM in terms of the strength of that prospect. How would you approach optimizing the form experience?

    Thanks, Oli. I’m a big fan of what you guys at Unbounce do.

    • Oli Gardner

      If your new treatment is underperforming, it might be that you’ve hit a local maxima, that the problem isn’t a basic structural thing, and you have to go with a more radical redesign.

      However, you need to do the appropriate conversion research first to make sure you’re designing a treatment based on real observed pain points and not just best practice heuristics. Best practices are most often only useful as a starting point.

      If you can share a link to the two versions I’ll see if I can spot anything, but it’s tough without full context.

      For form optimization the best thing you can do is a step-drop analysis (where are they dropping off the most in the process) and watching user session recordings. You’ll often be shocked at the reasons/places people are feeling friction.

      I’d watch Michael Aagaard’s talk from CTA Conference about conversion research.

  15. Stephan Hovnanian

    Your phone is running out of storage and you have to delete all but 3 apps. Which ones do you keep and why (excl. stock apps)?

    • Oli Gardner

      Haha, nice one.
      I assume I get to keep the iOS ones that come by default.

      Three isn’t very many. If it were purely a 3 apps for the rest of your life thing it would probably be Chrome, Twitter and Gmail. But if I could technically do all of that from Chrome alone – albeit annoying as hell to do.

      Of course, it would be really hard to live without Tinder and Paint Monsters.

  16. Johnathan Dane

    Super stoked about this AMA Oli (I get to say that ’cause I’m from California)!

    You guys have been working your asses off to build a tremendous company, have the most magnetic employees, and an attraction factor not even I can pull off on my best hair days.

    At what times (if there ever has been) have you reached a point where you thought Unbounce was never going to be what it is today?

    A different way of asking: What were your biggest road blocks, especially since this was your first SaaS venture (You were a photographer before Unbounce right?).

    Would love to know the back story and tough hustle of one of the companies I admire the most :)

    Thank you!

    • Oli Gardner

      I’m also stoked about it :)

      The first few years were incredibly hard, financially and work load wise. But it’s always been an absolute joy. There’s nothing like pulling 16hr days when it’s for your baby.

      I don’t talk about it often, but there was a time when we were running out of cash and it was decided that someone would need to step out for a period of time and go do something else. We decided it should be me (marketing). That was one of the hardest decisions/discussion I’ve ever had. Fortunately, I re-analyzed the situation and was able to demonstrate the risk in doing that (not doing any marketing or content production) and we changed our minds and found a way to struggle through.

      Technical integrations with other tools (like MailChimp) were a great source of acquisition in the early days, but we hit a bottleneck in dev and couldn’t continue them. I think it was over a year between us doing it.

      When we started that, we filled a giant wall with stickies of every tool we could potentially integrate with, and scored them all by how big they were in comparison to us, according to compete.com. Not a perfect method but gave us a good sense of priority when we say that Infusionsoft was 40x our rank, or HubSpot was 120x etc.

      • Johnathan Dane

        That’s freakin’ crazy that marketing was the decision to be axed first lol. I’m definitely biased.

        Thanks so much for sharing that. I remember listening to a podcast episode where you whipped up your first eBook in just one night, where everyone else was afraid it would take you 2 weeks? Lol. I guess they didn’t know you were that effective with your time ;)

        Thanks again!

  17. Christian Lehmann

    Hi Oli,

    We haven’t met before however I came across your platform in January 2015. Since that time my property company in Australia has sold over $10m in property listings using your landing pages. Once we got the hang of the platform it was pretty straight forward to split test new campaigns which had way more grip than landing traffic straight to our corporate site. Erin and Johnny were always helpful and understood our commercial needs despite the difference in timezone.

    As you have indicated this is a ‘Ask Anything’ I thought I would fire these at you for both my own benefit and all the entrepreneurs out there.

    I have launched a new venture http://www.jobsoutsource.com

    1. With your cloud based start up, what were the top 20% of things you focused early on when the idea’s were buzzing around in your head by the money was tight?

    2. What is your networking strategy, how do you approach people you feel will influence your operation if you haven’t met them before?

    3. What are the top two biggest mistakes you see entrepreneurs make when starting cloud based global businesses?

    Well done on a great product that doesn’t go down.

    Founder – Jobsoutsource.com
    Partner – silvertail.com.au

    • Oli Gardner

      Hi Christian,
      Apologies for the very late reply. Here you go.

      1. With 6 co-founders we were fortunate to be able to focus on 6 unique areas of the product simultaneously. Carl (CTO) worked on infrastructure and the testing & stats engine. Justin built the page builder, Carter worked on the UX/design/coding of the remainder of the app. Rick and Jason focused on perfecting the pitch and beginning the processes of the financial/legal/investor elements, and I started the marketing side (design coding copy for the website, an ebook, guest posts, and the blog.

      The first beta of the product didn’t even have forms on it. Just click-through pages.

      Our first technical integration was with MailChimp, which was a strategic decision based on alignment with our target customers. This has been born out by the consistently disproportionate makeup of what ESP our customers use (and set up the integration with inside Unbounce).

      Following that we used a big wall of stickies to list every potential tool to integrate with and scored them according to the multiple of traffic their website got according to compete.com.

      From my side, the massive guest posts I did on the Moz blog were an early turning point in terms of exposure.

      2. I’m an introvert, so I hate networking, it makes me uncomfortable. That’s why I prefer to speak early on day one of conferences so people know me and will come up to me as opposed to me having to approach.

      3. Probably not being focused enough on your end market. IT’s easy to get swept up in the requests of big companies early on (we did that) and try to meet their needs when they’re not actually aligned with the greater customer base. We also priced ourselves too cheaply, resulting in acquiring non-ideal customers. As soon as we removed the lower pricing plans our revenue jumped and our support costs went down.

      Hope that help! Thanks for being a customer and for the great questions.
      Cheers to Carl and the engineering team for building such a solid foundation and our 99.997% uptime.

  18. Sven Schaetzl

    first: I really like your latest ebook and your campany!

    Then here is my question:

    How to optimise the main landing page of a (complicated) product for developers?
    (SEO CRO Usability)


    Generally LP Attention Ratio should be 1:1 (only one link/CTA on the page).
    But this is a complicated product, so generally speaking no prospect coming new on the page
    (by Google Search) will immediately click on the main CTA “Download Free Trial”,
    they need more informations about technical details.
    => For this reason (and for SEO reasons) main questions are linked to pages with additional details

    So what?!?

    Should we remove the CTA (and both top navigation bars) and all the explaining-feature-Links from “above the fold” or even the complete page, so that visitos need to scroll down (and get the details first) before hitting the (unique) CTA at the end of the page accompanied perhaps by a “More Infos about features”-Link (for those still not convinced to download the trial – Attention Ration would be just 1:2) and this would lead to a more feature-oriented “intermediate” page similar to the current page (with all the links included in the text?)

    This way we could solve another problem:
    Currently the wording on the page contains still lot’s of feature-related topics (what the product can do) instead of being more problem-solving (what’s in for me/how does it help me?).

    So the wording on the main product LP could be strictly “what’s in for me” and on the intermediate feature-page it could be more technical/product and feature-oriented?

    This could solve a SEO-Problem, too. Because important Feature-Sub-Pages should be linked prominently (not only from footer) from the ‘main’ product landingpage. (like it is currently done)
    => But this “kills” (as explained) the Attention Ratio (currently 30:1 with navigation bars even 50:1)… So the way with the additional page could solve this problem?
    (btw: on the ‘intermediate feature page’ the navigation bars should be visible or not?)

    Any suggestions to this complex question?


    PS: Above page is getting Google Search Clicks e.g. for
    “.net reporting tools”, “list and label”, “c# report generator”, “reporting tool”

    • Oli Gardner

      Hi Sven,
      I’ll try to tackle the main points. Something that can be very effective in this type of situation is to remove all of the links that go elsewhere on the site – so a dedicated landing page. But leave a sticky navigation in there. So instead of going to sub pages, the nav brings you further down the long page to the content they are looking for. This way the Attention Ratio is still effectively 1:1 or 2:1 – because the nav links aren’t “leaks” away from the page.

      This lets you do heat map analysis to see which of the nav links people are clicking on, and removing any that are not getting attention. You can then try removing the content that that nav link was related to as it might not be important in the purchasing decision.

      In terms of CTA position, it’s important not to be afraid of moving it down the page so people can have a chance to read first without being distracted by the “ask” being too aggressive. For this you’ll want to do a scroll map to see if people are even bothering to scroll, and how far they are getting down the page – which can influence where you place the CTA.

      Hotjar will let you do both of these things.

      Regarding SEO, if you are running campaign traffic (paid ads,email, social, display) then you don’t want to pollute your data with organic traffic. In that case the setup you have might be okay (for organic) and you should try the single page with anchor sticky nav for your campaign traffic only.

      You’ll also want to look in Google Analytics to see what inbound channels are converting and which aren’t then focus your optimization only on the ones that are effective.

  19. Gail Gardner

    Thanks for doing this, Oli. Many small business owners do not have the desire or aptitude to do conversion optimization themselves. Given the importance and how much an increased conversion rate can add to their profitability, I have these questions:
    1) What have you found to be the most compelling methods to get them to understand and act to improve conversion rates NOW not later?
    2) Do you have a collection of visuals, case studies, etc. we could use to get them to action faster?
    3) What is the minimum budget they would need to hire you? If that is beyond what they can afford, do you have a list of recommended conversion optimization experts? If not, would you consider creating or partnering with a solution for finding top talent at all price points and sharing that with us?

  20. Umair

    Love your attitude in fighting CRO friction.

    Currently I’m working on an HVAC website that offers numerous services, installation, service, repair & maintenance for heating and cooling systems across residential and commercial clients.

    For landing pages I understand the structure but how can I arrange the home page to address all these different demographics and of which are in different stages in the buying cycle, without getting them confused?

    Do you know of a good working example?

    Thanks and I hope you keep doing what you do best!

    • Oli Gardner

      The important thing to remember is that your homepage/website is for organic traffic from search – or direct. As such it’s okay to have your multiple offerings on the homepage.

      Landing pages are for marketing campaigns, and you should be running campaigns for each offering separately.

      Watch my CTA Conf talk and you’ll see what I mean when I go over the Edinburgh Plumber example.

  21. Joep Bovendeaard

    Hi Oli,
    I want to know what is the best strategy in your opinion (adwords/e-mail –> Landingpage –> call-to-action –> follow up) for getting appointments. We are a small business that offer marketing- and salesservices to small business owners who are having trouble getting results ’cause the’re doing it all by themselves (DIY ethics). Our proposition is: get a free assesment of max 2 hrs. with me and my partner and then you know if there is room for improvement or not. Only obligation:you pay the coffee (we stage this conversation in one of three possible locations in our hometown Rotterdam). We have a lot of questions like: do we have to create a complex landing page with call to action and form with a lot of questions like company size etc OR keep it Simple and only ask for a telephione number so we can get back? the options are numerous but what works best online, not being a pure e-commerce thing and so on? Curious about your vision on this!

  22. Phil Benham

    Hey Oli! Sorry I’m late to the party. Here’s my question:

    My partner and I are building a web app to help folks create higher converting emails using dynamic and engaging graphic elements designed specifically for email (countdown timers, personalized images, c-t-a buttons, video overlays, progress bars, ratings/surveys, image backgrounds and gif video previews)

    How do I decide who our market is?

    I mean I kinda know that our customer ‘avatar’ is an entrepreneur or startup who has invested time and energy into building their email list…maybe has a list of 500 to 5000…has experienced low click-through rates…and is maybe not actively looking for a solution, but will buy it when they see one.

    But how do I market to these people, let’s say by segmenting an audience on Facebook?

    Thanks for your insight!

    • Oli Gardner

      Are you wanting to replace an ESP (MailChimp etc.) or would it be something that would integrate with an email provider.

      • Phil Benham

        No, we never thought of replacing an ESP. We’re focusing on “using dynamic and engaging graphic elements designed specifically for email (countdown timers, personalized images, c-t-a buttons, video overlays, progress bars, ratings/surveys, image backgrounds and gif video previews)”…so it would be a SAAS which provides the copy-&-paste code to integrate with your own ESP. We’re planning on adding API integration later.

        • Oli Gardner

          Really cool idea.

          I’d start by listing out all of the problems/pains that you think people are feeling and create ads and landing pages around those to start validating the idea. We did FB ads right at the start to make sure the Unbounce value prop resonated.

          I’ve not done any FB segmentation myself so I’d be making shit up if I commented on that :)

          You could attach directly to the ESPs by saying things like:
          – Want to add interactive elements to your MailChimp emails?

          Are you creating any content?
          You could use content to speak to them through their pain points:
          – 10 ways to increase email engagement and conversions using interactive designs (yada yada)

          Or offer the content and not even have it. Just play lean startup and say thanks for letting us know you’d be interested in that.

          There seems to be so much blog post potential that I hope you’ve got a blog going :) Never feel that it’s too early to start your blog.

          • Phil Benham

            Thanks for being honest Oli! I was really hoping you could help me pinpoint an audience (esp. on FB). We have though about piggy-backing off of ESP’s, though; so good call on that one.

            We’ve pretty much validated the idea already. The major pain point is a low click-through rate for email campaigns. Our sales page will focus on that. I think it would benefit us to think of more and design sales copy around different pain points. Thank you for that!

            We have started a blog! We’re just not sure how to run traffic to it. Like, we’re creating content, but no one is seeing it.

            Thanks for your insights, Oli. I know how hard it is to answer everyone.

  23. Greg

    I’ve started using landing pages thanks to your landing pages course and I love the idea, but I have some questions regarding PAID ebooks. There’s not much on this subject. Should I build my LP the way I’d do it for a free ebook and just add the price info somewhere (where??), or maybe better make it a 2-step LP where I first qualify people for my product via some kind of form and after they feel like they’ve found the place to solve their problem I show them the 2nd step with the price, benefits, and everything else, including PRICE?

    Your answer would be much appreciated!

    • Greg

      And here’s the link to the current version of that LP:
      We’ll have the traffic coming from our Adwords campaign.

      • Oli Gardner

        Having the price on there is important – the way you have it is fine. You might want to repeat it on or beside the CTAs throughout the page though.

        The main difference between a free and paid ebook is my need to know that it’s actually quality content. So you could show a free ungated preview of a choice piece of content (in PDF format).

        Or you could try a 2 CTA (I cringe as I say it :) approach where it’s buy now – or fill in the form to download a preview.

        Worth experimenting with a few things like that.

  24. Lori Meloche

    The amount of fields obviously affect the conversion rate. You want to make sure you are getting enough information to validate a good lead, but not so many that they won’t want to fill it out. As well, we are an SEO firm and so we are getting dozens of overseas companies filling out forms to get our business (probably because here in Canada we have strict email spam laws so filling out forms instead.) Here is our LP, any suggestions? http://macraesmarketing.com/get-a-proposal/

    • Oli Gardner

      It’s definitely a balancing act between quality and quantity.

      Ouch. That was my reaction to clicking on your link! It’s a very aggressive ask to request a proposal so early on on the page. I’d watch my CTA Conf talk for a bunch of tips. Specifically on the distance to *test* placing your form from the top of the page.

      Here’s a quick rapid-fire critique:

      1. Our trained team of experts is here. Okay. Here to do what? I have to read all the way to the end of the subhead to figure out anything about your page. Listen to the headline flip section of my talk for some ideas on the headline.
      2. This isn’t somewhere you should be sending campaign traffic (paid, email, social etc.) all of the navigation and distractions make this too unspecific. You may just be using it for organic traffic, but even then, if someone is on your site and clicks a CTA to come here for a proposal, don’t let them leave. Remove all of the navigation on this page and focus them on the form only.
      3. Design the form as if it’s the only thing on the page. If it can communicate what it’s for, why I should care, what I’ll get and when, with a descriptive CTA then it’s doing it’s job. Then think about the rest of the page.
      4. Less copy please. It looks like a lot of work to read this page.

  25. Dipendra Kumar

    Hi Oli Gardner, i have a question for you, just found your blog while seeking the right answer for myself. Oli, could you please guide me to start doing blogging, what are the key points to think about when posting? I have an extensive knowledge in the area of health, spirituality and education – and i am improving it time by time. But probably, the most common problem in the starting phase with any bloggers is “how to start” – a lot of thoughts are wondering in my mind. Thanks!

    • Oli Gardner

      Sounds overly simple, but you just have to start writing. A great exercise is to write 300-500 words on anything (subject doesn’t matter) first thing in the morning – before you do anything else – no email reading. You’ll find that the topic will naturally come around to what you want to write about and if you do this for a month you’ll have written over 10,000 words.

      It can be scary to put your thoughts out there but you just have to suck it up and have the courage to do it.

      Your first few posts might not be very good – I know mine weren’t – but when you do manage to get that first awesome post out there it feels amazing.

      You could also consider writing on Medium just for the experience and honing your chops a bit before writing on your own blog. I started the blog on day 8 of Unbounce and it’s one of the best things we ever did.

  26. Mr. T.

    OK, this is a career question. So everyone is talking about CRO and every company seems to want their marketers to know all about it. BUT…where do you get the skills/training/experience needed? This is a truly exciting and interesting career option, but like everything thats kinda shiny and new, everyone wants to hire an expert but they seem to have no idea what that means. How does one become an expert?

    • Oli Gardner

      Becoming an expert is hard. A great way to approach it is to find a mentor. That way as you start formulating hypotheses and doing conversion research and running your first tests – they’ll be able to guide you and point out when you’re testing in the wrong way or for the wrong reasons.

      Everybody runs crappy tests when they start out – I run tons of awful tests based only on the desire for higher conversions as opposed to an observed pain that could be overcome or removed.

      Taking a course like Peep Laja’s is a great way to get started in the *right* way.

      You will also find a ton of free resources and ecourses in the new Unbounce Academy.

      • Oli Gardner

        Also, share your experiences – be transparent about the tests you are running so that others can comment on their validity.

  27. Gary

    Have you ever A/B tested something that is not online or work related?

    • Amrdeep Athwal

      I have A/B tested everything from product placement in a real world store when I was 16 and delivered a 34% increase in profits

      I also have tested my diet and fitness but this is a little harder as the body adapts so it constantly needs changing and tweaking.

      I have also tested my Email subjects/content to see what gets faster response times, I know it’s online but not work related.

  28. Derric Haynie

    Some softballs for ya:

    What’s the simplest way (site, calculator, etc.) to determine the proper sample size for significance? Especially when not using an Unbounce LP, such as when using ads, lightboxes, etc.

    Favorite landing page?

    What;’s the one”trick” that you’ve seen boost conversions the most on average?

    When shouldn’t I A/B test? Like low traffic sites, no budget, etc.

    Who do you learn the most from / look up to the most?


    • Oli Gardner

      This is probably the best sample size calculator.

      Favourite landing page is this one.

      Tricks don’t really exist. Solid research and observation is the backbone of successful tests. Looking at the data we’ve pulled from the Unbounce database, there is a very strong indication that Attention Ratio really matters. Every link on average decreased conversions. The average number of links (on lead gen LPs) was 4.39, meaning that there was a good opportunity for improvement by removing 3-4 links. this is average aggregate data, so of course it’s no silver bullet, but it will help some people.

      If you have a low traffic site you have to approach things from a different perspective. A/B testing isn’t optimization, it’s a tool you use in the bigger picture of improvement.

      Assuming that you are growing and over time you will have enough traffic to test, my recommendation would be to start your research process immediately with a tool like Hotjar to gather all of the evidence you’ll need to make informed testing decisions later on.

      Look at heat maps – what content are people “asking” for with their clicks.
      Scroll maps – how far down your pages are they looking.
      User session recordings – where is the biggest point of friction.
      In-person usability testing.

      You can then try implementing changes and carefully watch the impact. It’s not as scientific as testing, but looking at before and after can be okay if you give it a bit of time. You won’t spot small changes though – you’ll be looking for a decent amount of impact to be confident that the changes are working.

      As my primary roll these days is as a public speaker I look up to folks like Scott Stratten, Wil Reynolds and Rand Fishkin.

      • Derric Haynie

        Thanks so much for the response. Love that landing page, I remember you talking about it at some other time in the past, but I never got to see it.
        Was he hired on the spot?
        We actually made people apply to a job as content manager by making a YouTube video and writing a blog post, I think this is the future of hiring: proof of concept :-D

        Thanks again for the pointers, you rock!

        • Oli Gardner

          Yeah pretty much – although the immigration process to get him to Vancouver from Denmark was a giant PITA. Awesome to finally see him around the office.

  29. Seth Ollerton

    Hi Oli,
    Love Unbounce! What is best practice around having Google index landing pages? I check the box that hides all of my landing pages from Google’s search. Is this what you would recommend? Why or why not?

    • Oli Gardner

      If you’re sending campaign traffic (paid etc.) to your LPs then hiding them from search engines is the correct move. Otherwise you’ll be polluting your data with that from organic traffic – which could decrease or increase your overall conversions changing your CPA.

  30. Ash

    Hi Oli,

    Twofold question here:

    We are an energy utility so for acquisition based landing pages we want someone to buy their gas or electricity from us. I hate using stock imagery.. but really what else can we use for this kind of intangible product? Would we even be better with no image? The best I have managed to come up with is an image which roughly matches our strapline.. its hardly ideal though.

    This sort of leads to the second question:

    During landing page testing we pretty much always find that an ugly design beats an attractive eye candy design every time (which includes lots of attractive (but irrelevant) stock imagery).

    However naturally our stakeholders do not like putting ugly pages up no matter what the uplift so we usually have to make a compromise and make an “average looking” page which does not convert as well but also looks a bit nicer.

    How would you suggest we go about crafting an awesome looking landing page, that also converts? Or should we just stick to our guns and keep pushing for the ugly pages?

    • Oli Gardner

      Do you have an example to look at?

      But yeah stock imagery can be very detrimental as it creates trust problems. I get their hesitance if it’s from a brand image perspective and it sounds like you have a decent but not optimal compromise going on.

      What are your competitors doing? Might be worth taking a look there.

      What do you ugly pages look like? Is it just without imagery?

  31. Jeffrey Dobkin

    Ok, lots of response here, Oli…
    Despite you wearing a pretty much red-neck hat in some of your interviews. Oh well…

    So for my 8 month old site, I’m getting about 6,500 page views/month from 1,367 users with a bounce rate of under 4% and a little over 4 pages per session. I direct visitors to my free sample insurance letter that has very good SEO and I’m on page 1, with over 1,750 page views from 606 users, bounce rate of 1.6%.

    But, poor sales. None some weeks. OK, non most weeks. Care to take a look? jeffreydobkin.com/insurance/insurance-sales-letters-free-sample-letter/

    I know, I know – I still have distractions: nav bar, email sign up. But is that really causing no sales? Really? Hard to believe…

    Thanks – Jeffrey

    • jeffrey dobkin

      Ouch… sooo sorry you didn’t answer this (yet), I’m really stuck. Sigh… Thanks for any consideration.

    • Oli Gardner

      Well it sounds like you are aware of some of the problems already. There are a couple of things working against you and yes the number of distractions is a big one. More than that though is that it doesn’t look very credible. The lack of professional design and the aggressive tone are both turnoffs. The headline for your form says “Give us your email address” << no thanks, that's not delightful copy. Explain why I'd want to subscribe and I might want to. When you arrive at this page it looks like the goal of the page is a newsletter subscription as the only CTA is the form on the right. It's not until I scroll down that I see that you are selling something. And $295 is a lot of money which I imagine is also a primary reason for low conversions. The logo says "Books". What does that mean to a visitor? Every element on a landing page should support the goal of the campaign. Waay too much text to read. I'd spend some time on the individual page analytics. How long are people on this page? How far down the page do they scroll? On a heatmap, how much clicking occurs near your CTA as opposed to the navigation or the newsletter form? All of these will give you some great insights into what's happening on the page.

  32. Susan Staupe (MnSearch)

    Hi Oli – Will you come back to MnSearch and speak at our 2016 conference? : )

  33. Ryan

    Hi Oli,

    Awesome AMA! Would love to learn more about your E-Commerce Conversion optimization tips and tactics. What would be your approach to a site that has tons of traffic and a lot of abandoned carts? Thank you!

    • Amrdeep Athwal

      I would look out my check out funnel and see what steps have the biggest drop off, run some customer research such as heat maps, surveys, session recording then use that data to build some hypotheses to test.

  34. Trevor C

    My question hopefully is very simple. I am trying to focus on testing based off of specific data, not best practices (even though that is important too). Sometimes it is hard to get to the right data to create a hypothesis. Do you recommend any specific tools to use to gather specific data. For example, if I wanted to find our which form fields to eliminate on a landing page, do you have a recommendation as to what tool could show me which form field users have the most difficult time with? Currently the tools I use are GA and Adobe Target Standard (I have searched Target, and I dont think it can track this kind of info).

    • Oli Gardner

      You should try Hotjar. It has session recordings to see where people struggle, form analytics to see what the impact of each form field is, scroll and heat maps, basically a whole ton of great qualitative and quantitative data.

      I’d watch Michael Aagaard’s CTA Conf talk on conversion research too.

  35. Chris J. Whitman

    The company I work for is focused on destination marketing and traveling. However, currently our services are over the phone and most of our landing pages are “Door Buster Deals” meant to drive traffic to phone calls. However, our agents are trained to talk to the customer to try and figure out their needs and build them a custom package. How do you feel about the UX of going from a page of products only ment to drive a call to talking to an agent that builds you a custom package to sell you over the phone? Much like travel agents of before Expedia.

    • Oli Gardner

      If the phone calls work then it’s great. But I would be interested in seeing how many people drop off when they realize it has to be done over the phone. Personally I don’t like talking on the phone, and I would *guess* that those who do go the call route are a bit older.

      Watching some recordings would be a great way to understand the behaviour. Then you could maybe experiment with live chat as a gateway. Get them talking and then suggest a phone call to make it *easier* to discuss.

  36. Syed

    Hey Oli,

    It’s no longer a secret, you folks at Unbounce and your friends at ConversionXL, Copyhackers, etc. are the GOATs of CRO knowledge and wisdom. IMHO Unbounce is the easiest landing page tool to use, your support team is on point and your prices are the fairest I’ve ever seen of marketing tools.

    Now that I got the brown-nosing out of the way, here is my question:

    Why stop at landing pages? I want MOAR!

    This might be me being my overzealous self, but why not make Unbounce the world’s most baddest-assest (not a word) full-blown marketing automation tool available, including social mgmt, email marketing, blogging CMS, CRM, etc.

    Or is it better to continue focused on the landing page niche and encourage users to piece together their marketing automation solution with various other services?

    The reason I ask is because you and your team are winning in the ‘delight’ and ‘community-building’ departments and I simply can’t get enough :)

    • Oli Gardner

      Haha, thanks Syed.

      The reason we’ve been successful thus far has been the relentless focus on doing one thing exceptionally well – and we’re still quite far from achieving that IMO.

      One thing that will be interesting in the future is when we release shared content (snippets that can exist on many pages). That will immediately open up easy to manage microsites (shared nav) which will be a fascinating conversion experience to consider as a marketer.

      As you know I hate extraneous links, but when the experience is still a dedicated one for a specific ad, it’s okay to break the page into 2, 3 or 4. I can’t wait to start exploring the theory and architecture of campaign site experiences.

  37. Dominic Hurst

    Hi Oli. What are your thoughts on conversion optimisation’s role in agile/ lean UX environment. For me it fits in perfect to the learn/ enhance part. Challenge is working within sprints and time to complete tests aren’t time based. Thanks in advance

  38. Joao Alexandre

    I don’t have a question right now, but I’ll be silently observing the knowledge being passed. Pretty excited with everyone’s questions and with Oli being here.

  39. Steven Eisen, Conversion Pages Group CLC

    Hello Oli!

    Thank you for the opportunity to snag some gems from your treasure trove of experience.

    I have two questions:

    1. Regarding “leak-proof” Landing Pages (no links to a company’s Website): Is there valid proof that this kind of LP gets more conversions than a LP with any link(s) to a Website?

    2. Does Unbounce have the capability of providing or allowing me to design a Landing Page that exactly mirrors the design/look of a company’s Website?

    I look forward to your comments.


    • Oli Gardner

      1. In general terms (this is data from lead gen LPs) more links shows a negative impact.

      If you’re doing PPC, you probably want to have a terms and conditions or privacy policy link in the footer to connect to your primary domain from the landing page. This is a trust signal to Google.

      2. Absolutely. You can recreate a pixel-perfect rendition of your brand/website. It’s very flexible. Most often to do this you’d start with a blank page instead of a template and then reconstruct it from there. We also have partners who will do that for you.

  40. Jess Hutton

    Hi, Oli! Thanks for doing this. Would you talk a bit about personas? For or against? In what format and context?

    I ask because I’ve found stakeholders are coming to expect them, but then get trapped into only thinking of the personas as their users, instead of remembering personas are broad generalizations. But at the same time, they help me convey demographic information in an easy-to-remember format to my team…


  41. Kate Riesen

    Thanks for being a great resource in the industry.
    Im looking for a Text to chat solution. Know of any? Example: text 805805 to live chat with our product specialists.

    This will go on our landing pages.
    Thanks in advance.

  42. Stephen Brooks

    Is there a good landing page format for my internet tv business, which will
    send people to a third party i.e netflix?

  43. Ryan Mv

    As a small business, when I perform keyword research and build a list of keywords. I look into the difficulty of each keyword and compare to the volume of each keyword. But what’s the right formula in an industry that is very saturated and hyper competitive?

    Do you choose one of the highest difficulty ones? Or all the low volume keywords so they stack to high volume? How do you decide on keywords based on the data found?

    There’s a stat from HubSpot: “Businesses with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages.”
    When building a website do you create as many pages and content for each product / topic and sub topic as possible? Is that the end formula for success?

    And a final follow-up question.
    How do you decide what should be a page or a blog article? I’m thinking of SEO value.

    • Oli Gardner

      1. When you’re in a competitive space the landing page becomes more important than ever as people *will* be comparison shopping and will be clicking on a ton of ads. You need to make sure your page is actually delivering on the promises you’re making in your ads. I’d try and do some usability testing to observe people visiting your landing pages as well as your competition – and make sure you are recording their faces with the built-in camera. Measure their time on page and get then to vocalize their thoughts and frustrations.

      If people react poorly to your pages that’s where you need to focus so you are providing the best experience. I’d work on that first.

      2. I dislike that stat. It’s horribly misleading and has no value. You need to focus on being excellent and the rest will follow. Over time you’ll have lots of pages and you will absolutely get more leads (if you do a good job designing your pages to ask for a subscription etc.).

      I assume you mean in WordPress? There’s shouldn’t really be a difference for SEO, but in terms of it’s ability to convert into a subscriber, a page with a custom design could perform better than a blog post which has your blog post template with potential distractions such as related articles etc.

      It also depends on the type of content. If it’s not a blog post and more of an evergreen piece of content that answers a question, then a page is more appropriate.

  44. Jennifer

    Hi Oli!

    We launched a really cool (we think) ad campaign which links to this lander: http://reports.pitchbook.com/why-trust-your-gut/

    We’re not seeing any conversions :-( Have any tips or see any red flags? We are A/B testing form placement at the top and in the second section and moved the logos section because according to heatmaps viewers liked that.

    • Oli Gardner

      First thing to check would be that you have your conversion goal set in the app. Is it for the lead gen form? Or is it external via the CTA at the end using the external tracking script?

      If your primary goal is the get form fills, I’d suggest that the bottom CTA scroll back up to the form instead of taking them off to your website.

  45. Andy

    How do you encourage people who aren’t familiar with experimentation and data to start making data-driven decisions?

    • Oli Gardner

      Try showing them the results that others in the same industry have achieved. That might be enough to get the competitive juices flowing.

      Otherwise, you might want to start collecting data, and doing some session recordings so you can show those people the horrible experience your visitors or customers are having – then you will have a good job getting them on board for some optimization.

  46. Ryan Meghdies

    Hi Oli,

    Would you mind providing feedback on this landing page: http://www.tastic.marketing/seo-marketing-audit/


    • Oli Gardner

      Rapid fire:

      1. The headline isn’t very clearly written. It’s like two clunky statements. If you saw my CTA Conf talk you’ll have seen the headline flip idea. I think this is something you need to consider. Watch it here.
      2. Set expectations. For the CTA at the top, it’s not really clear what format I will get the audit in. It brings you to the form which doesn’t add any extra details. Will you email me a report? If so what will be in it?
      3. You’re calling your form a form. That’s a little like calling a form field a form field, and you wouldn’t say “Email address field” would you? the form headline should demonstrate value – what am I going to get, and them maybe a subhead that explains why I should care.
      4. The scrolling feels finicky – are you trying a scroll-jacking script on there or something? If not it could be that the parallax image is too big (filesize wise).

  47. Nicole

    What do you do when a baby just stares at you in public? Like, doesn’t even blink, just maintains intense, aggressive eye contact with their dumb baby face. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO IN THIS SITUATION?

    • Oli Gardner

      I’d hold a mirror up to their face so they can understand the reality of how they’re impacting other people’s lives.

  48. ^^^ Scott Craziness ^^^

    What human behavior pisses you off the most when brought into a business and why?

    • Oli Gardner

      Lack of GAS.
      Not the stinky kind, not Giving A Shit. I’d take an employee with G.A.S. over a specific skill set any day of the week.

  49. Thomas Lerch

    Hey Oli,
    this is a really specific question: How important do you think it is that the headline and subheadline are consistent in terms of either capitalizing each letter of the headline as well as capitalizing each letter of the subheadline or having both not capitalized?
    I also saw that you only capitalized the first three words on the sub-headline of one of your important landing pages: http://use.unbounce.com/free-trial-unbounce/b.html

    “The Mobile Responsive landing page builder for professional marketers”

    Is there a specific effect of doing this?

    • Oli Gardner

      I’ve read that title case (like the headline on that page) improves readability, but really it’s a style thing. Improve readability would be what I call a micro pain reliever. When you have many things on a page that are suboptimal it adds extra cognitive strain, conversely every little thing you can do to create a delightful and simple experience removes this strain and can have an overall impact.

      In terms of the Mobile Responsive words, as it’s a feature name it’s okay to do that but I don’t think it would have an impact other than standing out a little more.

  50. Steve X.

    Hi Oli,

    My client’s first landing pages went live yesterday and I am so excited! It feels like elementary school when you plant a seed and can’t wait to see it sprout #weirdanalogy #stillworks.
    Anyway, my team was really impressed with all the features and capabilities but why do I have to hold command constantly to keep from affecting mobile/desktop versions? Why can’t this be a toggle on/off? #firstworldproblems.

    P.S. I’m in the “delighted” category:)

    • Oli Gardner

      Haha – awesome category to be in.

      That “feature” is annoying as hell. I imagine it will be tackled in upcoming UX improvements. It’s my understanding that it was a workaround based on some issues people were having – but you’re right it’s not a good experience.

  51. Pete Quily

    Hi Oli,

    do you know of any good examples of coaches landing pages where they are specifically asking people to sign up for a free sample session of coaching?

    I’ve got a 12 year old 180 page adult ADHD coaching site it’s for free information on ADHD and lead generation to get people to sign up for a free 30 minute adult ADHD coaching session.

    Should I put links on my other pages to go to my:

    problems I help solve page

    careers/businesses of people who I’ve worked with page

    testimonials page

    first and then from there link to my try as free sample session page?

    Or just link to my try my free sample pages on all of my other 180 pages on my site?

    Curiously yours


  52. Kimberly

    We just move to a mobile responsive design website from asp site. Cleaner, add ability to trial platform, subscribe online and more! Our requests for demos has dramatically dropped.

    What could we have done wrong? What ideas do you have for increasing CTA for demos or trials?

    Thanks so much . Appreciate the opportunity.


    • Amrdeep Athwal

      have you actually checked and tested what the new responsive site behaves like on your top used mobile devices. Would suggest you might have some issues there.

      If you drop a Link I would happily take a look.

  53. Kurt Pearson

    Is Yelp one of the best search engines a local business can use, and is their paid search worth the money?

  54. Lori

    Why did Oli skip over questions instead of work his way down the list?

    • Oli Gardner

      Haha. I was trying to get to things I had a good response to in a frenzy and questions were being voted up and down by the community which helps me prioritize, but also makes it a little scattered. I answered your question above today :)


    Hey Oli,

    I read your posts every now and then and your critique on 22 Landing Pages is Very insightful and action driven. I’m in the early stages of my Startup and can relate with many a pains. We just finalized our Lead Generation LP mockup and passed on to Development today. Would it be possible for you to spare 5 mins to critique please? – It would mean a huge deal – Thanks Much!!

    p.s. the website http://www.irememba.com is not online at this instant cuz we just removed an old mockup used for Startup Weekend, Madison 2014.

    Sorry for reposting here – I did post a similar comment on the LP post :)

  56. Madelen

    Steps that help me create a teaser campaign?

  57. Lily Weisbecker


    My conversion funnel is stuck between download the free software and install. I am getting a terrific download conversion but very few installs. Can you point me to any articles that might help?

    All the best,

    Lily Weisbecker

  58. Douglas Morgan

    I have a question about your photography? Not sure how to properly reach you.
    3rd Gen Native Arizonian.

  59. John Kim

    A debt of gratitude is in order for being an awesome asset in the business.

    Im searching for a Text to visit arrangement. Know about any? Illustration: content 805805 to live talk with our item pros.

    This will go on our greeting pages.

    Much appreciated ahead of time.

  60. Alexa

    This is extremely Amazing and Very Informative Site we get alot of Informations from this site we truly value your cooperation keep it up and continue writting such enlightening article.