Wouldn't it be nice if people in your industry did some A/B tests, talked about or published their results, and then you could just replicate their tactics and get the same results? Think of how much bandwidth it would save you and your team!
But unfortunately, just because something works for other companies doesn't mean it'll work for you. While best practices can give you a great jumping-off point, if you really want your business to be successful, you've got to put these best practices to the test. Your company is different, your sample size is different, your audience is different, and there's conflicting data floating around out there about landing pages -- so the only way for you to find out what works best for you is to test.
Below are some of the parts of your landing pages you should still test for yourself. (And if you don't know how to run A/B tests on your landing pages, you can click here to learn how.)
Navigation vs. No Navigation
You might've heard that it's best practice to not have a navigation bar on your landing page because it distracts the visitor from filling out your form. Here at HubSpot, we found that to be true for our audience -- we did a simple A/B test on five highly trafficked landing pages, and we found that removing navigation links increases conversion rates.
But just because our site visitors are more likely to fill out our forms without navigation links at the top doesn't mean yours will. You'll need to test that out for yourself, just like we did.
Images and Video
Pictures and videos help visitors digest information on a page more quickly. For your landing pages, think of including screenshots of the downloadable offer or a short video about its value proposition. Check out this landing page for Google AdWords to see how images and videos can be used on landing pages:
Google AdWords can seem complicated, but Google didn't want to overwhelm site visitors with words -- so they added an instructional video. The big, blue coupon in the top right-hand corner was a great touch, too, to draw attention to the limited time offer.
Try using relevant images or video on your website to help your readers digest the content with less effort, and see whether it increases conversion rate.
People are more likely to do things if other people are doing it. Almost 63% of consumers indicate they're more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. So why not try it on your landing pages?
Social proof can take many forms: Quotes, embedded social media posts, testimonials ... there are a wide variety of possibilities. Use pictures, names, and titles where possible to be more persuasive, like Codecademy did:
Third-party validation humanizes the experience and can be a powerful motivator for filling out your forms. Test whether adding social proof to your landing pages increases conversion rates.
Button color can have an effect on your landing page conversion, and thankfully, it's also one of the easiest tests you can perform. Several years ago, the user testing folks here at HubSpot tested button color on the homepage of Performable's website. They wanted to know: Are people more likely to click on a red button or a green button? Would it make a statistically significant difference?
Although the team hypothesized that the difference in clickthroughs would be small, they found that the red button outperformed green by a whopping 21%, and they did not have to increase traffic to the page to see results. This goes to show how important it is to test button color out for yourself.
Like button color, button copy is also easy to test. Just a few tweaks in language can make an impact on your conversion rate. Take B2B company ContentVerve, for example: They found that changing a call-to-action button copy from "Order Information" to "Get Information" increased the conversion rate by 38.26%.
We always recommend your button says something other than "Submit," but there are a lot of options you can try: "Download Your Ebook," "Get Your Guide," "Try It For Free,, "Get Started Now," and so on.
Above the Fold vs. Below the Fold
Should the content and form on your landing page be visible above the page's fold, or is it OK for visitors to have to scroll down to see the form? You might think a shorter landing page helps readers digest information more easily, thereby increasing the likelihood they'll fill out the form. What really matters, though, is how much information a person needs to know before they're willing to fill out the form. According to KISSmetrics, the biggest factor in increasing motivation to convert is compelling copy, regardless of length.
For example, you might imagine that someone who wants to learn about a mental health facility would need a lot of information before they submit their information in a form. That's just what Sierra Tucson tested out with an A/B test for landing page length -- and they found that their longer landing page, which spent more time outlining value proposition, saw a 220% increase in new leads.
So don't just optimize for the fold -- figure out using A/B testing how much information you need to have on your landing page for people to convert. If your form is below your content (and probably below the fold), test whether more people fill it out if you move the form above the fold, and to the right or left of the main content.
Form length is a double-edged sword: You want to make it as easy as possible for a website visitor to become a lead, but if your form is too short, then those many more leads might be much lower quality. Is there a happy medium?
Chances are, the optimal form length for your company is somewhere in-between. You can hypothesize all you want, but you'll have to find that sweet spot for yourself by A/B testing form length. It's possible that long forms that generate fewer, high quality leads are better for your bottom line. Learn how to A/B test landing page forms here.
After someone completes the form on your landing page, there should always be some sort of follow-up action, whether they're redirected to a thank you page or they're sent a follow-up email -- or both. While this isn't technically on your landing page, the follow-up interactions can help influencer conversions further down the funnel. So, you'll want to test clickthrough rate on those thank you pages and follow-up emails. Do you see more clickthroughs to other offers if you send them to a thank you page without sending an email, if you just send them an email, or if you do both?
As you tweak and test each element of your landing page, track which tests gave you the biggest wins. And when you tell your friends about your findings, be sure to remind them they shouldn't take it from you -- they need to be testing these things, too.