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These 7 Tweaks Doubled The Conversion Rate

May 20, 2008
If you're using a free report or trial offer as a lead generator, you obviously want your conversion rate as high as possible. If your landing page is clunky or confusing or just plain ugly, you might be losing out on many valuable prospects. I've recently implemented a few simple changes to a client's landing page that resulted in double the conversions. These changes are all easy to do, so I urge you to try them yourself:

1. Remove All Distractions
First, I eliminated all navigation from the landing page. And yes, that includes the newsletter subscription form. I wanted visitors to focus on registering for the offer. Once we had their names and email addresses, we could easily invite them to subscribe to the newsletter. (In fact, the service this client uses allowed us to automatically send a newsletter invitation once the prospect signed up for the freebie.)

2. Make The Subscribe Button Bigger
I replaced the standard form subscribe button with a large orange graphic button. I also replaced the word "subscribe" with "Send Me The Complimentary Report". I felt that users might be confused, since they were not asking for a subscription, they were asking for a downloadable pdf document. So I made sure the text on the button was descriptive of the offer.

3. Include A Product Shot
I know it might seem silly, but product shots have been proven time and time again to increase conversions, even for digital items. So I decided to show the visitors what the would be getting. Since the original pdf document had a boring, text-only opening page, I created a new cover graphic for the product shot (you need a compelling graphic). Then, I added that same graphic to the report itself, to ensure readers that yes, they did download the proper file.

4. Add A Caption To The Product Shot
I added a quick caption below the product shot highlighting one of the main benefits the reader would get from reading the report. Eye tracking studies prove that web visitors do read captions, and I wanted to point out the main benefit to encourage as many conversions as possible.

5. Use A Mouse-Over To Show The Report's Content
If your report is rather small, I would recommend skipping this step. However, since this client's downloadable report was several chapters long, I decided to add a table of contents page. First, I rewrote the chapter titles using more compelling, benefits driven text. Then, I created a graphic that revealed the table of contents when a visitor rolled over the product shot. It was a nice, subtle way to reinforce the report's benefits.

6. Add An Industry-Insider Testimonial
I added a quote right on top of the submit button from a well respected industry insider touting the benefits that will be learned in the free report. Now here's a tip - the industry insider was not talking about this particular report, simply one of the key ideas within the report. It was not an actual testimonial, simply an implied endorsement. But the implication went a long way in encouraging downloads.

7. Simplify The Registration Form
This is a point that I always struggle with, no matter what client I am working with. You must know what you want before you design the form. A smaller number of fields on your registration form results in more prospects. However, using more fields on your form results in better qualified prospects. A visitor who is serious about what you are offering and has already moved through the buying cycle is more willing to provide additional information. Before designing your form, it's important to outline the metrics for your campaign. Do you want more names or do you want better names? Remember, not all prospects are created equal. We actually developed separate landing pages for this campaign: a simple form for PPC and a more complex form for in-house lists.

Of course, I suggest you run some split tests and try these tweaks out for yourself.

And speaking of split tests, I received a question from a reader who was interested in knowing how long to run a split test and how to finally know when you have a clear cut winner. I'll tell you the same thing I tell all my clients - don't overdo it. You can spend months and months and gobs of money testing and redesigning and testing again. For most small business websites, this is overkill. A good rule of thumb for a very small website is that 1,000 unique visitors should produce a clear-cut winner.

Don't forget to run the numbers. Sometimes the minimal increase you obtain from the "winning" page isn't worth the time and money it will take to complete the entire site redesign.

And my final note on testing: usually, what works on one page will work on all of your pages. So, if you find that large submit buttons outpull smaller buttons on your download page, it's a fair bet that large buttons will work better on your contact us page also.

Time to implement: Each of these changes can be implemented in approximately one hour. You might want to make the changes and do the testing on each tweak individually.
About the Author
Karen Scharf is an Indianapolis marketing consultant who works with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She offers several whitepapers, free reports and checklists, including her FREE Can-Spam checklist and FREE email pre-flight checklist to ensure your emails get delivered, get opened and get read. Download your copies at http://www.ModernImage.com.
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