52 Ways to be a Conversion Badass

So you wanna be a gunslinger do ya? Optimizing the bejizzle out of your website and awesomizing your landing pages til they look like giant YES buttons! Well guess what ladies and gents? I’ve got a whole year’s worth of the best content the conversion industry has to offer, and it’s all categorized and organized and classified and personified.

Yup, personified.

As in, if this blog post were a person, it would be called Clint Conversionwood or John Clickvolta, or perhaps even John WayneYerDoneAdmiringMyConversionRate. You get my point. There’s a lot of bitchin’ stuff here.

Btw: John Wayne himself insisted we bring this post back from the archives. Who are we to argue?

John Wayne
You WILL get off your horse, and you WILL click my black and white call to action.

Read on for 52 of the best conversion rate optimization blog posts – each with a summary of how it can help you become a conversion badass…

Conversion Optimization Case Studies

  1. Best A/B Test Case Studies
    Badass lesson: A bunch of great case studies for ideas and inspiration. Always remember that all products and consumers are different, so one test lesson isn’t going to replicate it’s results all the time.
  2. Landing Page Optimization tips: analysis of 50+ sites to find out what increases sales and conversions
    Badass lesson: After analyzing over 50 sites, it seems people are still using too much text, non descriptive headlines (much too common), no CTA or too many, lack of social proof. These are basic elements that are still being neglected. Badass points removed for anyone who fails these concepts.
  3. Impact of TV imagery on website conversion rates
    Badass lesson: TV advertising can boost traffic. No shock there. But message match was the critical takeaway here for me. While the TV ads were running the page converted much better because the actor in the Ad was present on the page (message match) – when the TV ads were not running it wasn’t as good – because there was no relevancy or “ad message momentum”. Always match your page to your ad.
  4. How we grew a web app’s sales by 33%. (Includes a useful PDF.)
    Badass lesson: Let user research and insight lead the way for your initial optimization changes.
  5. Increasing Lead Capture by 27% – A Conversion Optimization Case Study
    Badass lesson: If you’re doing lead gen, be up front about it. Stick the form in a prominent position on the page and give it a solid CTA to attract attention. Even better would be to have a dedicated landing page for this sole purpose.
  6. How we made an extra £14 million a year for a travel company
    Badass lesson: If you are able to uncover fundamental visitor questions through research (surveys and usability testing) then you can directly address these questions through targeted design changes on your page that answer these questions when or before they’re asked.
  7. How I Set Up and Sold a Product Using Unbounce, Wufoo and Chargify
    Badass lesson: Forget the mention of Unbounce (not trying to plug it here) – the message is that with the right tools you can whip up working systems quickly by connecting small services together and making fast iterations as you learn from your customers. Just a great article.
  8. Startup Finds Success with Conversion Optimization: Tripled Revenues, 91%+ Leads, Lead Acquisition Costs slashed by 30%
    Badass lesson: Sometimes moving your page elements around (in this case a form) and testing your copy can produce dramatic results.

Conversion Optimization INFOGRAPHICS

Conversion rate optimization Infographics

And a couple of graphics without much info. thrown in for good measure.

  1. The 12-Step Landing Page Rehab Program
    Badass lesson: If you pay attention to your sponsor (not the one paying for your t-shirts) and follow these twelve steps, you can make a big difference in the performance of your landing pages.
  2. The 7 Secrets of Social Media Conversion
    Badass lesson: Social media needs to be treated like an adult – i.e. seriously. It’s a relatively cheap source of traffic (free aside from your own time) and a great way to experiment with messaging and engagement techniques.
  3. Landing Pages for PPC
    Badass lesson: Your homepage SUCKS as the destination for your paid search traffic. The proof is in the red and green of this infographic (red if you want to keep making the same mistakes – green if you are still on the conversion badass theme).
  4. The Landing Page Manifesto [Typographic Essay]
    Badass lesson: Learning a set of guiding principles will put you on the right path whenever you start your landing page designs.
  5. 20 Questions: The 5-Minute Conversion Health-Check Scorecard
    Badass lesson: You can whip up a to-do list of optimization ideas in 5 minutes by answering a bunch of simple questions. Get your colleagues to run through this exercise then compare and discuss the differences in their results/opinions.
  6. What are Your Visitors Thinking When They Should be Clicking?
    Badass lesson: Customer feedback at the point of conversion is a goldmine of experiential data to feed into your optimization practices.
  7. [How To] Use Traffic Segmentation and Landing Pages to Lift Your Conversion Rate
    Badass lesson: Segmentation lets you simplify testing, reporting and messaging.

Landing Page Examples

  1. YOUR LANDING PAGE SUCKS! Here are 10 Examples That Don’t…
    Badass lesson: Despite big budgets, beautiful design and great architecture, even the big boys still make some fundamental conversion faux pas.
  2. 7 New Landing Pages for Your Inspiration
    Badass lesson: If you are launching a new product or service, the old-school coming soon page is done. Add a simple lead gen form and entice future customers to subscribe.
  3. ABT – Always Be Testing: Two Design Directions for a Lead Gen Landing Page
    Badass lesson: There’s more to testing than just copy changes. Try switching up the emotive design aspects of your page and learn something about your customers.
  4. iPad App Landing Page Example – iBrite
    Badass lesson: Context of use is SUPER AWESOME – show your product being used. Double rainbow badass lesson: Video is compelling – especially with a catchy soundtrack.
  5. Campaign Monitor – Just One CTA Please
    Badass lesson: 40+ interaction points on their homepage (even though it’s a good one) vs. 1 on the landing page. Which do you think converted better? Simpler is gooder.
  6. Webtrends Lead-Gen: A Lesson in Cool Simplicity
    Badass lesson: The lesson here is that Webtrends are baddasses when it comes to landing page design and information design/architecture. Copy. Emulate. Imitate. It’s the sincerest form of flattery after all.

Funny Conversion Posts

  1. A/B Test Yourself – Life Experiences You Wish You Could’ve Tested
    Badass lesson: You don’t need a time machine to be better. Just flip a coin before every decision you make and have a proxy (gullable friend) with you to enact the opposite interaction to see who wins. That’s what a wingman is for!
  2. Would You Change Your Name for a Better SEO Rank?
    Badass lesson: I’m pretty sure this would work, if only for the PR you’d get. Maybe you should change your name to badass? Pretty sure if one of the lesser known Jackass guys had changed his name to “Mr. Jackass” he’d be more famous by now. Lesson over methinks. Boom. Sidenote: who thinks it’s awesome that “methinks” is actually a word? Raise your hands.

The Conversion Heroes Interview Series

A series of short 5-question interviews with leaders in different conversion topics including: landing page optimization, copywriting, social media and a/b testing.

Source: http://www.valdosta.edu/~jeburford/resources.html
  1. Part 1: Roberta Rosenberg on Copywriting for Landing Pages
    Badass lesson: “Blather all over the page and just get your thoughts and words out there.” Don’t worry about editing until the editing phase (it’ll come – be patient).
  2. Part 2: Dan Martell on Social Media Conversion
    Badass lesson: “Every time somebody says something nice on their Twitter account, just star the mention and it automatically updates on their website. It keeps it fresh and interesting and new.” Then you can use the Twitter favorites widget to display a running list of positive social proof.
  3. Part 3: Paras Chopra on Split Testing
    Badass lesson: Trying to A/B test your pricing page can be borderline illegal. Yikes. Not going to do that.
  4. Part 4: John Hossack on PPC
    Badass lesson: Bidding on your own branded terms is a painful punch in your stomach pocket, but you need to see if it’s economically viable before you turn it off. Even if all it does is break even, you still gain the benefit of showing up against your competition who are always bidding on your name.
  5. Part 5: Chris Goward on Conversion Rate Optimization
    Badass lesson: “I don’t think there are unknowable CRO principles. Just things that haven’t been tested yet.” Booya!
  6. Part 6: Cindy Alvarez on Point-of-Conversion Feedback
    Badass lesson: You can learn what your customers are thinking which is a great way to feed data back into your next design iteration. KISSinsights can do many things but sadly it can’t fold laundry.
  7. Part 7: Tim Ash on Landing Page Optimization
    Badass lesson: “I am afraid that there is endemic ignorance out there about what it takes to create high-converting pages. The lunatics are still running the asylum.” Well after that depressing realization, I’m going to say that I created a landing page (at Unbounce) of a mouse taking the temperature of an elephant through his woohoo! with a button CTA that read “Find out what happens next”. It’s still our highest converting page at over 80% so the world’s not ending quite yet. (Although the elephant was nonplussed.)
  8. Part 8: Amy Ellis on Email Marketing Conversion
    Badass lesson: You can be a super badass postal worker by helping your delivery rate. How? Use HTML AND plain text – most spammers don’t so you’re going to avoid some filters (those nasty barking dogs) and get your messages through more often.

Designing for Conversion

design for conversion
  1. Lessons in Conversion Centered Design: 7 Arm-Twisting Persuasion Techniques for Your Landing Page
    Badass lesson: Learn to point. Subtlety is not your friend when you’re trying to convert.
  2. Copy Vs. Design: Which Is Most Important To Conversion?
    Badass lesson: “Designing for conversion is hard. Don’t let your designer write your copy. Hire a direct marketing copywriter and trust them, until you discover that their copy doesn’t deliver results.”

Lists of Optimization Tips

  1. The Ultimate 2010 Landing Page Resource Guide
    Badass lesson: This is a roundup post just like mine. First you should read all of the 18 posts from Ion as they really know their shit. Second follow the great list of conversion experts they list on Twitter.
  2. 101 Ways to Make More Sales Online
    Badass lesson: This list is badass simply because Sonia writes like a badass. Case in point: “You can try just using a photo of the dog. Believe it or not, sometimes it works.”
  3. 101 Landing Page Optimization Tips
    Badass lesson: All I can say here (cos I wrote it) is that the coolest part of this post is that it was the very first thing we did as a company (content wise). We had a 2 hour brainstorm then I spent 24 hours writing a 27 page ebook to gather leads for our beta launch. I highly recommend this approach to giving away free content to build subject matter expertise. Share share share.
  4. 7 Magical Trick & Treats for Increased Conversion Optimization (inspired by Harry Houdini)
    Badass lesson: Who knew Houdini could be used as a marketing reference. For me this reminds me of off-site exercises. Go to your local newsagent or bookstore and browse/buy 10 magazines you’ve never looked at before – study the ads – study the writing – study the design. Break out of your shell (or your shackled straitjacket in Houdini’s case.)
  5. 31 quick points to instantly understand online conversion
    Badass lesson: Lesson 1: The popup on this page is annoying. BUT it probably works for x%. Weighing conversions vs. brand image is where you decision lies. Lesson 2: Read point 7 in the article for a nice breakdown of a conversion funnel. The naming of stages in the process will help you remember and consider them.

Writing for Conversion

  1. Fix Your Writing or Suffer Lower Conversion Rates
    Badass lesson: “put your conclusions and key points first. Less important and supporting information should be placed last. This is critical since most readers will choose not to read very far.”

Social Media Conversion Strategy

Remember to check out #10 which is all about social media conversion (but has an infographic – so it got promoted to that category).

  1. BRAINSTORM: The Effects of Social Media on Landing Page Conversion
    Badass lesson: Add secondary calls to action to your confirmation pages if you’re doing lead gen.
  2. [HOW TO] Twitter Lead Capture – An Easy Way to Find New Business Leads with Social Media
    Badass lesson: Keep your lead gen efforts current and “live” by leaving Twitter search tabs open all day.
  3. [HOW TO] Make Viral Contest Landing Pages with Social Media Widgets
    Badass lesson: Make social sharing a required element of your contest entry for enhanced viral sharing.

Lead Gen Concepts

You get it right? Leads? Conceptually shown as an intro photo? Who says literal humour has no place in the world!
  1. HOW TO: Keep Your CTA Above the Fold on a Lead Gen Landing Page
    Badass lesson: If you’re form is long, the button (CTA) will fall below the fold. Not a massive heart attack scenario, but to improve the sense of user wayfinding, use a directional cue in the form area header to point down towards the CTA.
  2. Do You Trust Your Customers to Do the Right Thing? – Try Enabling Freedom on Your Form Fields
    Badass lesson: Simply try (and test) making your form fields not required. Keep email required (or not – test it all) and let the rest be up to the user. Remember, the rate of form completion varies in direct correlation to the size of the prize you are giving away. So the more generous you are, the more generous they will be.
  3. What Happens Next? Post-Conversion Strategies for Lead Gen Landing Pages
    Badass lesson: Dead simple. Use your lead gen confirmation pages to engage your newly acquired customers at the point of maximum buy-in. Guide them towards an extra free treat (ebook, report etc.), suggest a page to visit or ask them to follow you on Twitter/Facebook. It will extend your reach and can remove clutter from your main lead gen page.
  4. Kiss Your Phone Leads Goodbye
    Badass lesson: If you are relying on phone numbers and “phone time” to make sales. You *must* get in touch right away. Use a system that alerts you whenever you get a lead. There are many systems that will call you with the details of your lead – then ask if you want to call them right back.

Conversion Posts I Didn’t Categorize

  1. The Art of Conversion
    Badass lesson: One paragraph of copy is often enough.
  2. Why I Hated Landing Pages…
    Badass lesson: I was wrong. Yup. Only once though. Ever. I like landing pages now (a good thing really).
  3. Don’t Say It’s Over – A Second Chance at Conversion
    Badass lesson: Retargeting allows you to place ads in front of people that have visited your site before. Often people will have only seen a blog post or another internal site page. These brand building ads allow you to extend a message to people that they may not have seen or understood when they visited your site the first time. You should try bringing them back from the banner ad to a landing page that succinctly explains your value proposition before delivering them back to your homepage. This will warm them up and teach them what you’re all about for that all important second visit.
  4. Can You Catch 4 Ping Pong Balls? – How Too Many Messages Can Kill Your Conversion Rate
    Badass lesson: Try it. Grab 4 ping pong balls. Throw 1 at a colleague and see if he can catch it. Then throw all 4 and see what happens. Do this repeatedly with people in your organization to teach them that more than one message per page messes with your conversion rate. Plus, throwing ping pong balls as people is pretty badass all in itself.
  5. Increase Conversion: The Key Principles of Making a Killer Landing Page
    Badass lesson: They use pictures of Journey and cheesy photo captions. That’s just effing cool.
  6. (Old but relevant – and let’s face it – you didn’t do them last year) 2010 New Year’s Marketing Resolutions – You Know Your Landing Page is Fat When…
    Badass lesson: We’re close to the start of another new year, but the fundamental rules are the same. Set out to establish some new years resolutions that will improve the pages you already have.

And yes. Badass is all one word…

Oli Gardner

p.s. Like us on Facebook for extra badass points

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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.
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