If you’re not A/B testing, then you’re definitely missing out on an incredible opportunity to improve your business’ bottom line. A/B testing is a powerful tool that marketers often forget to leverage as a way to optimize their content and generate more leads. Ideally, it should be something that every marketer uses to test and adjust the performance of their individual marketing channels such as landing pages, emails, and website pages to pump up lead gen. A/B testing may sound too technical to many marketers -- something you'd want to push off to your web designer or developer -- but by using modern tools like the ones HubSpot offers, even mortal marketers can easily create, implement, and analyze this type of experimentation on an ongoing basis.
One of the most important places to leverage A/B testing is on your landing pages. You spend countless hours and invest a lot of resources creating remarkable content to drive traffic to your site, so you should want to be sure you’re capturing as many of those visitors as possible. In order to capture those visitors, you need to convert them into leads by gathering additional information about them. The more leads you generate, the more you can nurture and eventually morph them into profitable paying customers. Below, we'll dive into how you can get the most out of your landing page A/B testing.
Create a Testing Plan
It’s easy to get carried away with A/B testing. Since it’s so simple to do, you’ll want to test as many variables on the page as possible. In order to stay focused, determine all the variables of the page you want to test, and then create a plan to test only one area at a time. You need to be sure you're isolating and testing only one variable per test in order to accurately determine that your change resulted in a higher (or lower) click-through or conversion rate. Remember: it may take some time to achieve statistical significance in your A/B testing, depending on the number of variations of the variables you are testing and the amount of traffic your pages receive, so be sure to plan accurately.
Test Anything and Everything
A landing page may seem barren or boring compared to some of your other website pages, but there’s actually quite a lot to test on landing pages. Below is a list of variables to A/B test on your landing pages to optimize conversions.
1. Page Layout
Play around with the overall layout of your page. The layout of the landing page includes the placement and positioning of page components such as lead-capture forms, text, and images, as well as the overall look and feel of the page. There’s a lot you can test regarding the layout of your page. For example, try testing the placement of the form on either side of the page, try altering the number of columns you use on the page, or change the placement of your page copy to see what drives the most conversions.
The design of your page can also have a big effect on your conversion rate. The design should be attractive and grab the attention of the user quickly, and there are many ways to make a landing page more appealing. Try altering and testing the font size and type on the page. Visitors might find some fonts and sizes to be easier to read than others. Also think about testing the colors of your text and color scheme on the page. Determine what you want the user to focus his or her attention on, and test a variety of color combinations that you might use on the page.
The copy on your page can also have a huge impact on your conversions. The title is a great place to start. Try changing the language, tone, messaging, or direction of the title by making it more actionable or direct. Determine which tones or styles works best for your title, and try testing it with the rest of the copy. The layout of your copy can also be tested. Think about testing bullet points as opposed to chunky paragraphs, and alter and test the length of the copy on the page.
We all know that having at least one image on your landing page, specifically one that relates to the offer, helps to optimize your landing pages. Test the placement of your image as well as the type of image you’re using. Do images that loosely represent the offer work better than screenshots of the actual offer (e.g. the ebook's cover page or the webinar's title slide)? Do people respond better to photos of people compared to abstract-looking images? Also try testing the use of multiple images to see if it has an effect on your offers.
5. Number of Form Fields
The number of required fields in your lead-capture form can be a huge deterrent for some visitors. At HubSpot, we try to keep the number of fields to a minimum, and our max is 11. The difference of 10 or 11 fields may not play a factor into your conversions, but altering the number of fields from 11 to 6 may have a huge impact. Really think about what information is truly critical to gather from your visitors when you’re creating your forms. Test form length to optimize for the right balance between sheer amount of leads and quality of leads. It will all depend on your unique business' leads goals. For instance, your business might have a lead quality problem and thus find that more fields are better to weed out any low-quality leads. If you have a lead quantity problem, you might decide that the opposite is true and fewer form fields yield better results.
Analyze Your A/B Testing Results
When analyzing the results from your landing page A/B tests, you need to track and evaluate the click-through rate of the 'submit' button on the form, which will indicate that page's conversion rate. Then you'll need to compare conversion rates for each of the page variables you test. Before coming to any strong conclusions, you’ll also need to make sure your results are statistically significant. This means determining if any difference you see between variables is what truly influenced the change in people’s behavior. To determine if your test is statistically significant, you need to compare the p-value and significance level of your test with some complicated math, but luckily there are tools on the internet that will do it for you. Check out PRCOnline’s Statistical Significance calculator for a quick and easy test.
Iterate and Test Again
Once you’ve analyzed the results of your A/B testing, be sure to make the appropriate changes to your site if your results are statistically significant. And just when you think you’ve tested anything and everything on your landing page, then it’s probably time to start testing again. Well...almost. Keep in mind that people’s behavior changes often, and certain language or copy that was once hot can easily become stale if overused by your industry or competitors. The benefit of testing often is that you can stay on top of the latest trends and best practices.
Are you leveraging the power of A/B testing on your landing pages? Have you increased conversion rates as a result of a particular A/B test? Share your results in the comments!
Originally published Dec 22, 2011 4:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017