Day 13: Finalize Your Landing Page Variations

It’s hard to believe that the week is almost over. You’ve spent the last few days tweaking elements on your landing pages. Today, you’re going to finalize your variations so that you have 2-3 versions to test.

If your website is high traffic and receives more than a few thousand hits a day, it’s safe for you to pick 3 landing page variations. If your page only receives a few hundred, pick only two variations.

What to Prioritize

Choose concepts that you want to emphasize before selecting tactics. For instance, you might want to see how different types of social proof (social media shares vs. customer counts)compare against one another. You might also decide to test the performance of an explainer video vs. an infographic.

When deciding what you prioritize, start with what you think your customers want, and reverse engineer the tactics you’ll deploy to get there. The most high-impact strategy for driving sales is to prioritize what your customers care about.

Why Only 2-3 Variations?

At this point, you’ve probably guessed why we’re having you create multiple landing page variations. Tomorrow, you’re going to set-up A/B tests, and by the end of this 30-day period, you’ll have data to tell you which landing page was most effective for converting your web visitors into buyers.

A/B testing software will test each of these landing pages randomly. You’ll need high-volumes of web traffic to be evenly split against landing pages. Otherwise, your test won’t be statistically valid (and you’ll be drawing conclusions from skewed data).

When you have multiple landing page variations, your sample sizes will be much smaller. If you’re running a high-traffic website, you’ll probably be okay, but if you’re running moderately trafficked website, you might end up taking a hit. It’s better to have statistically valid sample sizes than option-overload to test.

Just keep things simple. You can always test more options later, incrementally.

Today’s Homework

You’ve been making a fair number of tweaks to your landing pages in the last week. Today, all of these changes stop (temporarily). Commit to the variations that you want to test.

  1. Combination A (or what’s already up on your site) will be your control.

  2. Combination B will be the variation that you test against A.

  3. Create a hypothesis for which page you expect will perform better and why. Explain your arguments in terms of user behavior.

Make sure that your landing pages make sense. Combine elements in a way that there is absolutely no cognitive dissonance or confusion for what your company is trying to communicate.

Day 14: Set Up Your A/B Testing Software

A few days ago, we had you try some demos for A/B testing software. Today, you’re going to finalize which one you want. You’re also going to launch your first round of A/B tests so that you have results to measure at the end of these two weeks.

You’re probably going to use Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely, the two solutions we introduced you to previously. Regardless of which one you choose, you’re going to need to know the following:

How the Software Will Help You

Your A/B testing software will be a comprehensive platform for launching tests, monitoring patterns, collecting data, and extrapolating trends. The software will take care of randomizing your web traffic, creating random and representative samples, and providing recommendations based on findings.

There will be no leg-work required on your part. At the very least, you’ll need to implement a few lines of code. The software will take care of everything else for you. The overall process will be extremely low-touch.

Why You’re Setting Up Tests Today

A/B tests take time to generate results. You need to make sure that your sample size is large enough to generate accurate results. You also need to run your tests over an extended period of time — a day or so isn’t enough time.

We recommend that you run your tests for at least two weeks to capture natural fluctuations (like seasonality). Ideally, your A/B tests should be running on an ongoing basis. Check performance at regular 2-week intervals. Make optimizations iteratively. The end of this month is a great time to start this process.

How to Get Started

Today, the goal is to get set up. You’re not going to do any analysis, and you’re not going to check numbers compulsively. You’re going to get your A/B tests up and running, make sure that everything is working, and then close your browser window.

As tempting as it is to watch your data like a hawk (like watching stock prices), don’t do it. It’s a waste of time to chase numbers. You should be doing other things (like building a business)instead.

As a part of getting started, make sure to set up the conversion metrics and KPIs that you want to track. These include:

  • Traffic to your website

  • Relevant click-through rates

  • Conversion rates

When you set up your tracking in A/B testing software, make sure to keep everything simple. It’s better to track one or two metrics than to waste time buried in a gigantic data dump. Specify what you want to track on day 1 so that you’re laser focused on results when they’re ready.

Today’s Homework

You guessed it. Today you’re going to set up your A/B tests. You’ve already picked out your success metrics, landing page variations, and software of choice (Optimizely vs. Visual Website Optimizer). Now, you just need to fit the pieces together, install the relevant Javascript on your site, and just get up and running.

We want you to pick the right testing software for your company. Instead of listing out step by step instructions here, we think you should work with the vendor you chose to make sure that everything is up and running efficiently. Follow their instructions, support teams, and troubleshooting tools to make sure that you’re good to go.

What’s worth noting is that Optimizely is based in the U.S. and has a set of conversion optimization consultants who can help you make sure that you’re up, running, and testing the right approaches for your website. If you think that you’re going to be relying extensively on support (i.e. need a lot of hand holding), they might be the solution you need.

Once you’re done, sit back, relax, and enjoy your evening. Another week is done, and you’re about halfway through the the program. Conversions en route.

Here’s What You’ll Learn in Week 3

Are we really entering week 3 already? Boy does time fly. We spent the last two weeks helping you perfect your landing pages. Today, we want to stretch the concept a bit further. Week 3 is devoted to plumbing. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to deliver a cohesive user experience

  • How to deliver an integrated marketing experience

  • How cohesion can help drive conversions

  • How to prevent user drop-off at different conversion steps

Day 15: Map Conversion Paths to Drop Off

In week 1, we helped you create conversion funnels to visualize your company’s sales cycle. Today, we’re going to help you transform that abstract concept into something more concrete.

We want you to outline the steps literally that people take on your website en route to becoming first-time customers and repeat buyers. Draw these paths on a whiteboard or sheet of people. Use Photoshop. It doesn’t matter how pretty these diagrams look. They need to be tangible and accurate. You can even just create a list in Word:

Example Conversion Paths

Here’s what an example path would look like for an agency-based business:

  1. Step 1: Discovers brand through guest blog post

  2. Step 2: Clicks on link from guest blog post to company blog

  3. Step 3: Shares content via Facebook

  4. Step 4: Likes the brand on Facebook

  5. Step 5: Finds another article from the company blog on Facebook

  6. Step 6: Becomes an email subscriber

  7. Step 7: Opens an email that links to a blog post > clicks

  8. Step 8: Finds out from boss that he/she has budget to hire a consultant

  9. Step 9: Requests a phone consultation

And here’s how a path might look for an e-commerce company:

  1. Step 1: Discovers the brand through a word-of-mouth referral from a friend

  2. Step 2: Browses the website for the first time

  3. Step 3: Signs up to receive a deal via email

  4. Step 4: Goes back to the website to redeem the offer

  5. Step 5: Adds item to shopping cart. Gets lazy. Falls asleep at computer.

  6. Step 6: Receives an email reminding him/her to check out.

  7. Step 7: Checks out. Completes first transaction.

Understanding Drop Off

At each of these steps, there is significant potential for drop-off. Drop off happens when people start, but don’t complete, the conversion process.

There are a number of reasons why drop-off can happen:

  • People forget about your brand.

  • People get bored.

  • People get lazy.

  • Something breaks on the website.

  • There is too much friction on the website.

  • People procrastinate and put things off.

Drop Off Is Entirely In Your Control: Prevent It

It’s easy to categorize drop off as something outside of the marketer’s control. Too easy.

Don’t fall into this trap.

If you think you can’t influence these user actions, you’re in denial. You’re afraid to confront reality. The ability to keep users engaged is entirely in your control. That’s the point of conversion optimization.

By analyzing the different steps of your conversion funnels, you can pre-empt drop off by responding with cues to move people along. Here’s an example for an e-commerce business:

  1. Step 1: User finds website through word of mouth

  2. Step 2: User places an order and completes checkout

  3. Step 3: User forgets about e-commerce company > after the sale, follow up with an email offer with a deal, coupon or promotion.

  4. Step 3: User comes back to redeem offer.

  5. Step 4: User adds items to cart. Falls asleep at computer. Forgets about shopping cart > e-commerce merchant can send an email to logged-in users with abandoned shopping carts; remind them to complete the transaction.

  6. Step 5: Repeat purchase = conversion = success

The steps mentioned above are very likely to be a real-life scenario, so let’s imagine that it was. Had we not taken steps to prevent drop-off, the sale would have never happened.

Today’s Homework

  1. Go through the list of conversion steps that you expect website users to take on your site. Audit each of these steps to determine how to prevent drop-off. Write these steps down so that you have the information in front of you, visually — similar to the lists we walked you through a few paragraphs ago.

  2. See how this list stacks up with actual user behavior on your website (assuming that you have analytics installed). See where people are actually dropping off.

  3. Provided that you have analytics in place, create an email marketing campaign to start tackling drop-off. Your CRM or email marketing system should have a way to set-up rules to target the people who are likely not to convert.

When you set up these rules, make sure that your email messages make sense. It would be embarrassing to send a “don’t forget to checkout” email to someone who hasn’t visited your business in months. If you get it right, marketing automation is an awesome conversion optimization tool. Get it wrong, and you’ll embarrass your company.

emily anderson / brilliant brand

Emily Anderson