This is not an ordinary mega list.
Because most lists like this are so overwhelming they’re useless.
Why is this one different?
Because I read every… single… one.
And I did that to dig out the very best advice, tips, and lessons from this huge collection of posts.
Was it smug to have my name in the title? Of course it was. But it took me forever to put this together.
Almost every post is from 2013 so you know they contain the latest thinking on the subject of conversion rate optimization. I say “almost” because some were so good that they warranted being here even if they were a tad older.
Here’s what I’d recommend you do to get the most out of these tips:
- For starters, bookmark this page immediately (Mac: Command-D, PC: Cntrl-D)
- Look down the list today and find something to read based on the insights I’ve pulled
- Come back once per day and choose one and only one post to read – to maximize what you learn
- I’d also appreciate it if you could share the post with those buttons over on the left-hand side. Hugs.
This is an excellent quick read from Neil Patel. The tip that resonated with me most was this one:
Macro conversions are better than micro conversions – it doesn’t matter if you increase click-through from one step to another. All that matters is if more people buy from you. Focus on the big picture when testing instead of trying to maximize how many people move onto the next step.
This is an epic post. One of the best takeaways for me is number 27 – Encourage users to leave reviews. The description in this part is quite tactical, and I’d like to add something to the content here.
Having customers add reviews to your product pages can be a huge factor in improving your conversion rate for one simple reason: comparison shopping. Reviews are one of the most looked at elements of social proof when people are shopping, both online and instore. Mobile research is changing how people make purchasing decisions – searching for reviews while comparing different options. According to telMetrics, 46% of shoppers reported they exclusively use their mobile device to conduct pre-purchase research for local products and services.
This post mentions that you should test your privacy statements/policies as different things work for different people/sites.
It shows examples of two different approaches from Tim Ferriss and Neil Patel, where Neil offers a standard 100% privacy and no spam statement, whereas Tim uses a list of 7 reasons why you should subscribe to his email list including privacy statements next to phrases like “Subscribers are smart and hot”.
Part of this interesting post includes three case studies about landing page headline A/B tests.
The concept is to compare three types of headline:
- Benefit based headline (what will I get from this?)
- Loss aversion (what am I missing out on if I don’t act?)
- Question (entice the visitor by asking a question)
To quote Michael Aagard (split test junkie and the author of the post):
“In all three case studies, the benefit headline performed best while loss aversion came in second place, followed by the question headline that came in last. These were just 3 case studies with an accumulated sample size of a little over 50.000 visitors. However, the results are representative of the overall pattern I see, when I perform landing page headline tests: a clear headline that focuses on a benefit generally performs best.”
I like the A/B test example by Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill in this post.
It’s based on using a press mention of an award win to enhance social proof. Even though the press mention is now 3 years old, pages containing the mention continue to outperform based on click-through-rate and conversion rate.
The message here is simple, speed your site up for higher conversions.
This isn’t especially new information… most of us have heard stats about reducing page load speed to get a conversion lift, but it never hurts to get a reminder. What I’d do is read the “Impact on Conversions” to get the stats which should inspire you to implement some of the 11 tactics listed to improve your site speed.
This is one of my own. What I like about this post is the fact that it’s an interactive checklist you can use to score your landing page.
The most useful element of the concept being that any items left unchecked on the list can be used to create your own to-do list of improvements you can add into a new A/B test page variant.
Another excellent resource when looking for examples of interesting conversion optimization case studies.
Number 5 is a great example of why you should start the story of your landing page with a clear value proposition. The original page has no clear purpose. Your eyes dart around the page to try and find some semblance of priority, but there is none. It’s impossible to be inspired to take action when there is no clear way to do so. The winning variation on the other hand, provides a single clear focused message and call to action – so that people can immediately understand the benefit of interacting with the page.
Neil Patel shares 7 A/B test case studies here. Nothing particularly new, but always very interesting to look through examples like this to fuel your own testing ideas.
Number 7 is my favourite. A very simple CTA position change yielded a 38% conversion lift. The position change was to place the CTA above a video as opposed to below. The reason was that people stopped scrolling at the video.
A strong point is illustrated by the example page in the “Address Pain Points” section about half way down the post.
It states very succinctly that “pain points don’t hurt when addressed up front”. Notice how the example addresses two ecommerce pain points at the top of the page: free shipping, and an easy returns policy.
Critique time: I love a good page critique as those of you who know me will know by now. What I’d do to improve this page is:
- Add some contrast! The page is almost entirely red. Focus on a few key elements here and tie them together with content.
- Following on from that point. I’d knock back all of the red elements except the logo, 60% off sale image, and the two pain point addressing elements. That way you immediately get your sale across, and your eye will then connect the dots between the sale and the fact that you can get free shipping and easily return your items. This would be easier on a landing page of course as it’s not a site change, but the idea is a universally useful concept.
MYTH! – People always are impressed by social proof
This is interesting because it is a nice reality check. The lesson here is to test with and without social proof, and also the type of social proof. If you can understand the motivation of a customer, you can add something relevant.
For instance, if it’s an ecommerce page where a visitor may be in comparison shopping mode, you must have customer reviews. This level of proof is a key component in how people do their research online before a purchase.
It’s important to spend some of your time learning new approaches to conversion rate optimization. The discipline is constantly evolving due it’s wave of popularity and business importance.
There are many great examples here to inspire you to think differently, my favourite being this one:
The blog comment landing page
Having a contextually relevant landing page for a blog comment can be a powerful example of thoughtful execution. Like the Quora thread mentioned earlier, you should only go the extra mile like this if you are creating impressive and psuedo epic comments. This will make people want to learn more about your expertise. Discovering a custom landing page for the comment will capture people’s attention.
I’d recommend having a title that is a reflection of the closing argument you make in the comment.
What you shouldn’t do is to end the relationship there and jump into a sales pitch – that will come across as sleazy. Continue to show your expertise by discussing the topic in more detail.
Then you can add a call to action. I’d say something like, “If you found this interesting, you might want to subscribe to my blog where I talk about this type of thing regularly.” Gold.
There’s nothing better than landing page examples to provide inspiration and insight into your own design.
In this lengthy post, 36 pages get critiqued according to the 7 rules of conversion centered design: encapsulation, contrast, directional cues, whitespace, try before you buy, social proof, and urgency.
Example #1 shows a nice balance of 3 good points and 4 bad ones. Plenty to learn from this one.
This is an excellent page because it has excellent examples for each of the 21 points. It’s also nice and meaty so there’s a ton to learn here.
This is an ongoing series of case studies from Visual Website Optimizer. Reading through these should give you some A/B test inspiration, and there are plenty of eye openers here that one wouldn’t expect.
I like this one Customer Review Widget Increases Sales by 58.29% for an eCommerce Website as it really drives home the point about needing customer reviews on an ecommerce page. This is to enhance the social proof for comparison shoppers – including the all important phone review checkers in brick and mortar stores.
This post explains in detail the complexities of a lead generation landing page, breaking it down into 15 steps.
A really useful part is step #2, which explores which types of content/giveaway you should be using depending on what stage your target is in: prospect, lead or customer. Oh, and it uses scrabble tiles to illustrate each point.
I have to go with #1 here – 6.64% increase in downloads by changing the font color.
It’s an excellent example of contrasting colors on your landing page. If you look at the page in question, you’ll notice that the headline was the same color as most of the other elements on the page. But changing the color it stood out more and the value proposition will be read more often.
I like Test #11: Button colors. Ooh, button color. Really? Why would I pick that one?
Why? Because this example has been shared so much and it’s described so utterly wrong it’s annoying. Red outperformed green? How is this so when red is a stop color? It’s not the color, it’s the contrast people. Just take a look at both pages and you’ll see how the contrast makes the button stand out more.
If you ever do a button color test #yawn, then go for contrast first – that’s a better road to success.
You should read the first one here as it’s an excellent example of iterative A/B testing to improve your conversion rate. It’s proof that you should never stop testing and that every page can be better. Awesome.
Ooh, the first tip here links to a free tool – The Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer.
It can tell you how your headline will be perceived: intellectual, empathetic, or spiritual. This could be of great assistance when you know about your customers’ motivation for arriving on your landing page.
Number 8 is also good, showcasing the use of a directional cue in the form of a person looking at your conversion goal. We are naturally predisposed to follow the line of sight of other people – and it’s a great design tactic to use on your landing page.
Number 4 here is a good lesson.
Basing your CTA copy on the benefit to the visitor is much more powerful than pointing out how you will use their email. Focus on them not you.
Number 3 here is very interesting.
When you have a series of emails going out using lifecycle marketing (e.g. via a drip campaign), you can see an increase in open rates if you create a feeling of progression in your email subject lines. What’s missing though is an explanation of how you would go about creating this in terms of your writing style – although including the number of your place in the course you will help (a standard usability practice).
Number 5 “Ignore The 7 Email Follow-Up Myth” is a good one here.
It talks about how different industry verticals and sales use cases can benefit from differently placed offers during a drip campaign. It’s likely that after a while, your subscribers can become overwhelmed or just bored with your content and unsubscribe or stop opening your emails – meaning they could miss out on your offer email entirely. I’m going to test this one.
Number 8 here talks about a concept known as analysis paralysis. In this instance the example talks about having too many social share buttons. Not only is this overwhelming in terms of the number of options, it makes it harder to find your sharing method of choice.
I like to refer to this as “the toothpaste trance”.
The Toothpaste Trance is a psychological phenomenon where there is so much choice for the same product that you end up just picking at things randomly. This is like a homepage vs. landing page. One (a landing page) has a distinct and obvious CTA and the other (a homepage) often has between 20 and 70 things to do. Make it easy for people and they’ll take advantage of your offer more often.
Another great example of this is an experiment that was done based on the number of jam choices available at a stall in a supermarket.
Less is More – The Supermarket Jam Experiment
A real world example of the psychology of ‘less is more’ comes from an experiment conducted in a supermarket in 2000 by S. S. Inyengar and M. R. Leper. A jam tasting stall was erected to allow shoppers to sample the different flavors of jam available for purchase. The test compared the impact of varying the number of choices between 24 and 6.
You’re probably familiar with analysis paralysis, from spending too long in the toothpaste aisle trying to make a buying decision. (Source)
In the case of the 24 flavors, only 3% of those who tasted the samples went on to purchase the jam, compared to a whopping 30% purchase rate when only 6 flavors were available. This demonstrates a phenomenon known as analysis paralysis, where too many options actually results in no decision being made.
This one is an ebook so you’ll have to part with your email to get it.
But having read it – you’ll see my testimonial on the landing page – I can vouch for this being one of the most informative and interesting reads of this year when it comes to A/B testing case studies and principles.
To quote the description from the landing page: “Insights and experience from 4 years of research and over 350 A/B tests distilled into one 26-page free ebook”.
Get it. You won’t regret it.
Interesting tactic in number 2 here. It talks about giving the current Coupon Codes on the checkout page for an ecommerce site.
The theory being that if you have a coupon code field, then people will head to Google to find one – potentially running into distractions or even worse, someone that’s bidding on your keywords which can result in your competitor getting your business.
These tips are about content marketing, which is top of mind for many marketers these days, which is why I’m including it.
It’s a great quick read with a load of quick tips you can start implementing to optimize your content marketing efforts.
The standout for me? Number 16. “Don’t be a link whore. Link out to other sites within your content. It doesn’t matter if it is your competition; link out to those who benefit the reader the most. This will help other sites to notice you, encourage them to share your content and potentially even link back.”
I can attest to how well this works. By benefitting your readers with useful resources, you are setting yourself up to receive more back links.
This post is a great read because it combines theory with actionable advice. I wish every blog post did this (how am I doing?).
In number 3, they explain how you can personalize your emails beyond the standard first name intro, suggesting that you leverage all of your available data throughout the email, such as company name job title etc.
Jump directly to number 3 here.
If you are doing ecommerce, one of the biggest reasons for poor conversions is the lack of high quality and decently sized images. If you are buying online, particularly clothing items, you must be able to make an informed decision.
This is backed up by Zappos.com where they’ve taken it to the next level by including videos showcasing the shoes. Epic.
This is one of the best conversion optimization posts you will read this year.
Peep Laja digs very deep into how to use persuasion to increase conversions. #3 visual hierarchy is my favourite because it makes you think about the mental paths that your visitors will experience when arriving on your page. Again, this post has a plethora of examples to explain each point.
Seven things you shouldn’t do. I always like this type of post because it can make you go “oops! I do that” and make you rethink your tactical implementations.
Blunder #4 is the best, it drives home the need to do some research to develop a hypothesis prior to beginning your A/B testing.
Learn more about the landing page optimization and A/B testing process and how to create a hypothesis.
Great insight from WiderFunnel here. In my opinion the best is the Morgan Freeman tip. Check it out.
Sometimes it’s okay to make assumptions.
If you’re doing lead gen, then this is a must read. It’s got a ton of example landing pages and advice at the end for your own page.
Number 1 is my favourite here. I’ve critiqued multiple Right Signature landing pages and they always do a great job.
And there we have it! Six hundred and sixty six conversion rate optimization tips. Remember to bookmark the page and give it a share on social for me. I’ll owe you one.
Got any more tips from 2013? Share them in the comments and we can grow the number.