SaaS Marketing Done Right: How Buffer Turned Me Into a Paying Customer

Just how effective is online marketing at converting people from free to paid users of a particular tool? And is marketing the only thing that matters? I’m the first to admit I’m a hard sell when it comes to paying for tools, even the ones I love. That’s probably why it took almost five years for me to start paying for social media sharing tool Buffer, even though I loved it from the first use. Here’s how it happened. First Contact with Buffer First, a little background. I’ve always liked trying out new web tools and even used to review…

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SaaS Marketing Done Right: How Buffer Turned Me Into a Paying Customer

All You Need to Know About eCommerce Conversion Optimization | An Interview with Tomasz Mazur

The following is an interview with Tomasz Mazur, a Conversion Rate Optimization expert, currently working as a consultant with Peaks & Pies.

Tomasz has several years of experience working on eCommerce conversion optimization and UX. He has previously worked with Zalando, Europe’s leading online fashion website.

Tomasz Mazur, Conversion Rate Optimization expert at Peaks & Pies

Tomasz answers our questions about conversion rate optimization from the perspective of eCommerce professionals.

Regarding the CRO Team and Sponsors

1) What does your ideal eCommerce CRO team consist of?

The team composition varies with the company. However, there are a few key members that every CRO team consists of (or should consist of):

  • A CRO manager who looks over the entire program—from strategy creation to website analysis and A/B testing
  • A design professional
  • A developer who can create functional test variations

The scale of the work of a CRO team mainly depends on website traffic. The objective is to make use of the entire website traffic always. Therefore, the greater the traffic, the larger a CRO team needs to be. Zalando, for instance, had a sizeable CRO team. I cannot disclose the exact number but there was a large number of CRO managers working on the entire website traffic. The web analytics team was also huge, working  on the minutest of details on the website such as product sorting algorithms. There was also a user research team that was in charge of qualitative research; the team used methods like usability labs, prototyping, focus groups, user interviews, and so on. As Zalando was operating in 15 markets and had a dedicated mobile website, the large size of the CRO team was justified.

2) Who should be the owner of a CRO program in an eCommerce organization?

The ownership of a CRO program should remain with someone from the higher management who understands the business impact of CRO. This person is the sponsor of the program. With understanding of the business impact of CRO, the sponsor doesn’t necessarily have to exhibit knowledge of all the nuances of CRO. The sponsor could be the VP of Marketing, or the VP of Product.

Sponsorship is necessary to ensure proper delivery of resources to a CRO team.

Regarding Coordination with Other Teams

3) Does a CRO team require help from other teams in an eCommerce organization?

One team that works closely with a CRO team is Marketing (especially, the customer acquisition department). The KPIs of the marketing and CRO teams are often aligned. The input of the marketing team is quite valuable—they know the product and the behavior of the customers.

The customer support team also plays a crucial role in highlighting pain points across a website. This team acts as a channel for customer feedback and helps a great deal in developing hypotheses.

A CRO team also needs to have the product team on its side. The product ownership mostly lies with the product team and their buy-in is essential. I know a few organizations where the product team has a “Conversion Lead” who acts as a bridge with the CRO team.

Regarding the CRO Process

4) What is the CRO process that you follow?

The process typically consists of the following steps:

  • Studying the quantitative and qualitative data of a website
  • Identifying problem areas on the website
  • Developing hypotheses that aim to address the problem areas
  • Creating variations per the hypotheses
  • A/B testing the variations
  • Analyzing the test results and sharing it with the team

Here is a graphic illustrating the process we follow in Peaks & Pies:

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 7.51.58 pm copy

5) How do you build a hypothesis?

I use website analytics tools such as Google Analytics to look for optimization opportunities across a website, for example catalog pages, product pages, and the checkout page.

When certain webpages are identified for optimization, these undergo rigorous analysis. I first check if a webpage has the essential eCommerce features (such as a recommendation engine on the home page) or not. If a certain feature is missing, we have got an opportunity for optimization. I use heatmaps and click-tracking tools to find elements or a functionality that require optimization. Gathering user feedback, taking help of usability testing labs, and checking out competitors’ websites are other ways of creating strong hypotheses.

I first check if a webpage has the essential eCommerce features (such as a recommendation engine on the home page) or not.

6) How do you prioritize A/B testing hypotheses?

I think a simple prioritization model like PIE—Potential, Importance, and then Ease—can work well for beginners. I personally like the model that is based on Potential, Confidence, and then Ease. This model gives a chance to the CRO team to take into account its past experience. A more sophisticated model can also include “political impact” as a criterion.

Moreover, prioritization needs to be a collaborative task to be successful. To estimate the “potential” of an A/B test, you might require the help of your marketing team. Similarly, the developers and designers can help you estimate the “ease” part.

7) What is the next step after hypothesis creation?

The next step is the design and development of a variation per the hypothesis.

However, before the variation is tested against a control, it must go through a thorough “quality assurance.” I think quality assurance is crucial for highly effective testing, but it is not emphasized enough in the CRO industry. You must make sure that all variations of an A/B test are free of bugs and issues.

Consider this: You are trying to improve a page that is already very optimized. You aim to achieve a humble 5% improvement in the conversion rate. If the variation doesn’t work for 5% of your traffic (because you forgot to optimize for mobile users or Firefox users), your test will invariably fail.

I think quality assurance is crucial for highly effective testing, but it is not emphasized enough in the CRO industry.

8) Is sales or revenue always the primary goal of your tests? Or do you look at micro conversions?

I would say the metrics or KPIs you are tracking should always answer your hypothesis.

In some cases, it is quite simple to track the revenue metrics (for instance, while adding new payment options on the checkout page). But in most cases, you have to track a combination of micro and macro metrics.

9) How do you analyze your A/B test results?

To derive valuable learning from a test, we need to conduct a thorough analysis.

I look at both micro and macro goals to get a better context of the results. I also dig deeper by analyzing the test results for different traffic segments. For instance, I compare test results for new visitors versus returning visitors. You need to deal with a concept called novelty effect. Your returning visitors, when encountering a test variation, will recognize the changes on the page and might hold strong feelings about it (similar to how people strongly respond to major changes happening on Facebook or Instagram). However, new visitors will be unbiased with your test variation and would interact without any prejudices. Another set of segments that is relevant to eCommerce is mobile and desktop visitors. The behavior of both kinds of users can vary significantly.

I dig deeper by analyzing the test results for different traffic segments.

An analysis is always followed by summarizing the test results and recommending a plan of action. You check if the hypothesis was valid and whether you need to implement the winning variation or run a follow-up test.

10) If you find that conversions increased for new visitors but decreased for returning visitors, what do you do?

You need to derive learning from the test and realize why the difference in user behavior exists. For example, this could be happening because of an offer for your new visitors such as “10% off for new visitors.” While the new visitors would be encouraged to shop on the website, the returning visitors might feel like they are not being offered the best deal and feel cheated. Your next step would be to set up a system to identify new visitors and display the “10% off on first order” deal exclusively for them. You can additionally have a loyalty program in place for your returning visitors.

The goal of CRO is to not just have winning A/B tests, but also gain more knowledge about your users so that you can provide them a superior experience. Think about the bigger picture—the entire eCommerce ecosystem. If you find that your close-up product pictures work better than zoomed-out ones, you can communicate this idea to your display marketing team and help them create better ads. If you find that the “free delivery” offer works better than a “10$ free voucher,” you can share the knowledge with other teams such as customer support and product.

11) How important is a long-term A/B testing calendar for high-traffic eCommerce websites?

I think a long-term A/B testing calendar is essential for any kind of website. You need to have a prudent approach; clearly define all the tests that you can conduct, along with the time that each test is going to take.

Think of time as a resource. If you are not testing all the time, you are wasting opportunities to optimize your website (the same time that your competitors might capitalize to move ahead of you). With a long-term calendar, you can easily identify time slots in which you can fit quick A/B tests and utilize all your resources effectively.

Here is a sample template that I would use as my CRO roadmap (you can access the template here):

Example Testing Roadmap Peaks Pies Google Sheets

12) How important is a knowledge repository of past A/B tests?

A knowledge repository is crucial to make your CRO program effective. It helps you know what works for your users (and what doesn’t) and helps you create better tests in the future. It is also used to introduce newcomers to the testing culture of an organization.

With every test you perform, it is important to document the details. You can start with a simple Google doc, and later get a sophisticated and comprehensive spreadsheet. Share the document with the entire CRO team so that everyone is on the same page and can avoid repeating any mistake. When the number of stakeholders is large, you can even think of a weekly/daily newsletter.

I usually archive my test results for every quarter.

Regarding the Nuances of eCommerce Conversion Optimization

13) Which eCommerce webpages do you think are key to a CRO program?

All of them. It’s important to go through the complete customer journey and find optimization opportunities. The most common customer journey path is from the home page to the catalog page to the product page to the cart page, and finally to the checkout page. Of course, there are other customer journey paths as well.

It’s important to go through the complete customer journey and find optimization opportunities.

However, a good CRO manager should always be able to identify low hanging fruits. I have seen that home page is the most tested page of eCommerce websites—mostly because it attracts the largest amount of traffic. Next in the list are product pages. These pages have a lot of traffic from channels such as affiliate partners and display ads. Third in the list are the register or login pages of websites.

14) With a large amount of traffic, how long do you run a test?

It is necessary to run an A/B test until it delivers a statistically significant result. However, with eCommerce websites, it is also important to consider the business cycle. For instance, the business cycle for fashion eCommerce is about one to two weeks. So even when a test delivers results in a few days, you need to run it for an entire business cycle to derive useful learning.

15) How many A/B tests do large eCommerce enterprises roughly run on a monthly basis?

That completely depends on the scale at which an eCommerce website is operating.

Large eCommerce enterprises like Zalando easily generate a traffic of millions of visitors in a single day. For example, Zalando had traffic from numerous markets and it could allow even 100 tests to run at an instance.

16) How does a festival season or a “sale period” affect a CRO process?

I have a good amount of experience working with fashion eCommerce. I’d say that the sale period definitely has an effect on their CRO process. One of the main goals in a sale period is to clear out the inventory. This is when the principle of “urgency” is deployed heavily in CRO campaigns.

This is when the principle of “urgency” is deployed heavily in CRO campaigns.

For other eCommerce websites, the heavy-traffic period can be markedly different. For example, I am working with an eCommerce enterprise that sells premium alcohol. The on-season period for them is winters when people tend to stay at home more and buy alcohol (for personal consumption or as a gift). As a result, this enterprise is focused on optimization activities more during the winter season.

Your Turn

What do you think about this interview? Do you have any question of your own that you would like to ask Tomasz? Post them in the comments section below.

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The post All You Need to Know About eCommerce Conversion Optimization | An Interview with Tomasz Mazur appeared first on VWO Blog.

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All You Need to Know About eCommerce Conversion Optimization | An Interview with Tomasz Mazur

36 Creative Landing Page Design Examples: A Showcase and Conversion Critique

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Psst: This post was originally published in 2013, but we recently gave it a refresh during our two-week publishing hiatus. Since launching the Unbounce Marketing Blog, this post has become one of our top-performing posts of all time. We hope you enjoy the read.

It’s landing page examples time.

I’ve compiled a list of 36 landing page designs to critique. Most of them are awesome, some need a bit more work and a few are downright awful (as a lesson of what not to do). Each will get my customary “what I like” and “what I’d change or test” so you can get some ideas and inspiration for your next page.

Here are the landing page design principles I’ll be using as a framework when delivering the critiques:

  1. Encapsulation:
    This is a classic technique used to hijack your visitors eyes and create a tunnel vision effect. You can think of it like creating a window on your landing page where your CTA is the view.
  2. Contrast & Color:
    Some say button color is important, but this a falsehood. In reality, it’s the contrast of the color that you need to focus on. A green CTA may well outperform red in some circumstances, but if the page is dominantly green, that green button is going to get hidden among other page elements. If you focus on contrasting colors you will be much more successful at making it stand out. In the case of the green page, a red button would be suitable.
  3. Directional Cues:
    Call attention to the most important page elements by using strangely placed and angled arrows. Tie a sequence of arrows together to define a path for the visitor to follow, ending at your CTA.
  4. Whitespace:
    Give your page elements breathing room to produce a calming effect and allow your CTA to stand out from the rest of your design.
  5. Urgency & Scarcity:
    Common psychological motivators are the use of urgency (limited time) and scarcity (limited supply).
  6. Try Before You Buy:
    By opening your product to scrutiny before the purchase you appear confident. This increases trust and is an important factor in boosting conversions.
  7. Social Proof:
    Social proof is created by the statistics and actions of a particular crowd and it can greatly enhance the “me too” factor. The major benefit is a level of authentic believability.

A practical application

To demonstrate how to apply these landing page design concepts, I’ll show a before and after template design example. The purpose of this particular template is to facilitate the download of an ebook in exchange for the standard name and email.

Note: This template is available for use within the Unbounce landing page platform suite of landing page templates.

The template: before landing page optimization

landing page template
An ebook landing page template without the aforementioned landing page design concepts applied

The template: after landing page optimization

landing page template conversion centered design
An ebook landing page template with the aforementioned landing page design concepts applied.

36 landing page examples critiqued for conversion

Are you excited to see some sweet examples? You should be… there are 36 of them. Most are from Unbounce customers, but I’ve thrown in some scary ones too, just to mix it up, and to scare you into making your own pages better.

I’m sure this isn’t your first landing page rodeo, so saddle up, get your design hat on and take a ride with me down landing page lane.

Let the critiques begin…

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1. Mobile Commons

mobile commons landing page example

What I like

  • Clear and enticing headline: Your headline is the first thing that people need to see on your landing page, and Mobile Commons does a good job of utilizing its headline to describe what it does, and make you want to keep reading to “Find out why” .

What I’d change or test

  • No back up to claim of 10x conversions: Stating that you’ll get a 10x conversion improvement is a very bold claim. It would essentially mean that someone converting at 10% would have a conversion rate of 100%, which isn’t attainable. It would be more effective to have a customer testimonial talking about the conversion improvement they achieved.
  • Button copy needs to describe it’s purpose: This is a simple one to remedy. Your CTA button should always explain explicitly what will happen when it’s clicked, for two reasons: firstly, so people will know what they are going to get, and secondly, so there is another element on the page backing up its purpose. In this instance, I’d suggest something along the lines of “Arrange a call back to discuss a mobile solution”.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Nicely encapsulated form area: Design principle #1 talks about the use of encapsulation to bring attention to your form areas. Mobile Commons again does a nice job here, making sure the conversion area stands out from the rest of the page and making it clear where you need to go to complete your interaction with the page.
Color and Contrast Button color: The CTA should be changed to stand out more from the rest of the page. Right now the blue is swallowed up a bit. It is a nice contrast to the form background, but overall the page has conflicting colors. If you stood back and looked at this page, you’d be hard pressed to identify the most important element. Some of this could be resolved by moving the customer logos to the bottom of the page, potentially in greyscale to prevent them from conflicting with the rest of the page.
White Space Crowded page could use some whitespace: Design principle #4 talks about the use of white space to improve the clarity and reading experience of your page. By making the page a little longer, Mobile Commons could make each part of the message more clearly chunked into digestible blocks. It could also draw more attention to the testimonial, by shifting the left column away from the form.
Social Proof Powerful testimonial: The testimonial from the CEO of Tumblr is very compelling. It’s a brand that many are familiar with and lends a lot of credibility to the page.

2. Macquarie University

macquarie university landing page example
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

This one’s hard to critique. It’s a really good landing page. Oh, but there is the dreaded Submit button again! Tsk Tsk. There are a few things I’d suggest to keep the landing page experience intact. Firstly, I know people are afraid to remove links (or “leaks” as I call them), but you really don’t need to cite every claim you make at this point. It’s not a whitepaper, it’s a marketing device. Secondly, the form area needs a little work. I’ll describe a hypothesis for each.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

The form area:

By enhancing the messaging of the form area to explain, and focus on, the purpose of the page, the clarity of communication will improve and encourage more people to complete a form they know will benefit them. This will also increase the number of relevant and qualified leads.

Page leaks:

Distractions remove people from the reason *you* have paid them to be here. Removing all links on the page so there is only one action will increase the engagement with the page’s conversion goal, increasing form completions and reducing the bounce rate.

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis:

  • Clarify the form’s purpose: The form header is your one chance to describe the reason why you’re asking for personal data. Here the wording suggests that you complete the form to “Register to their event”. Yet, having skimmed (that’s all people will do) the page copy, I see no mention of an event. And the dreaded Submit button does nothing to clear it up. Will you receive information about the university based on your level of study (Current? Desired?) or a prospectus for available courses? So my test advice is to say exactly what you will receive in the header, and reinforce that in the CTA.
  • Never submit: You were warned.
  • Leaky page: Take away all of the links on the page (except for the privacy statement). If you really need to link to something, do it in a lightbox to keep prospective students on the page.
  • Add a FAQ: You can remove the need for so many questions by opening a FAQ page in a lightbox that addresses all of the questions you are currently answering via external links. This will reduce your total points of interaction to three: The CTA, privacy policy and the FAQ.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation This is an obvious one. The form is nicely contained in its own box, which helps it stand out from the image behind it.
Directional Cues The arrow may be small, but it’s a reminder that the form is where the action’s at. Knowing this right off the bat relaxes the mind so that it can explore the content on the page, knowing that you know where to go if you decide to continue on.
White Space The form area is nicely separated from the content, and there is a lot of breathing room all around the main image. A really good demonstration of how to use white space properly.

3. American Bullion

american bullion landing page example
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

Oh dear. What am I supposed to do with this one? It’s a great page. So I’m going to do a 180 here and talk about what I like about it.

What I like

  • Descriptive headline: The headline tells you what the page is about in three words.
  • Simple intro paragraph: Describes what you’ll get for completing the form.
  • Perfect form header and CTA: A descriptive form header and button copy.
  • Supporting information: Everything you need to know is pretty much above the fold, but if you’re not convinced then you can check out a large amount of social proof below including: testimonials, media mentions and trust symbols.

The only thing I would add to this page would be a sub-header above the three steps to say what they are about: such as “About Gold Investing”.

Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation I’m being spoiled today. Another form that’s sitting nicely in a container. ‘Nuff said there.
Color and Contrast This would be *really* good if the bottom blue area was a different color — perhaps just a dark grey. Then the only blue area would be the form container, which would really pop out. I also like how the trust logos are knocked back by being in greyscale. This keep them visible but not conflicting with more important areas.
Social Proof There’s a ton of social proof logos on display here, although I think the lower set of logos is overkill. The two testimonials could use a different treatment to make them stand out as quotes rather than the current design that makes them look like a block of text like the rest of the page.

4. Florida Hospital – TAVR

tavr landing page
Click image for full-size version

Another excellent landing page. Although I don’t get a clear sense of what TAVR is right away (the tiny description of the acronym is hard to see). If you have highly targeted ads, then you need to make sure the headline is a clear match with them.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

By being more explicit in the headline about what TAVR is, more people will be able to relate, staying on the page and completing the form as a result.

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis

  • Headline change: I would test using the full name of the procedure, placing the acronym as a second element.”Is Valve Replacement (TAVR) Right for You?” followed by an explanation of what the acronym and procedure are in the first intro paragraph.Note: I can’t say if this enough information for people to understand it.
  • Optimize for Pay-Per-Click: If there are any paid ads (AdWords, etc.) driving traffic to this page, I would change the header to be text with a graphical background, compared to having one giant image. This would increase the Quality Score and the test would compare the change in Quality Score by making the header bot-readable.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation I love that form encapsulation is really sticking as a staple design principle. I do have one suggestion here, but it’ll be covered in the color section.
Color and Contrast Here’s a great example of using a single color hue for the majority of the page. Which really opens the way for the use of color and contrast to make your form area stand out. By choosing a color that opposes blue, you’d really attract attention. Here you could try the deep red. You might then change the button to be white.

5. SweetIQ whitepaper download

whitepaper download lead gen landing page
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

This is a fairly standard whitepaper/ebook download page; however, the underlying design doesn’t support the aesthetic you’d expect from a brick and mortar targeted page. As an electronic document delivered online, it’s important to make it obvious that it’s for local businesses.

There are a couple of ways to do this. Use imagery to show physical businesses, either on the ebook or the background of the page or make the CTA very explicit about the local aspect.

Another thing to mention here is that the copy doesn’t really say anything about what you are downloading! Is it a report? An ebook? This absolutely needs to be addressed.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

By focusing on the local business aspect in the CTA, there will be a better understanding of the local brick and mortar business relevance and more targeted downloads (creating better qualified leads).

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis

  • CTA copy: I would test the current CTA copy against something more explicit like “Download your location based whitepaper now”, with a short supporting line beneath the button that says “For brick and mortar retail businesses”.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Again, I’ll defer to Mr. contrast here.
Color and Contrast The form area stands out really well on this page. You can’t help but notice it. In this instance I’d try going for a red button to make it stand out from the main color palette. Here, the page is so simple that there’s no real visual complexity to compensate for, but you should still get in the habit of practicing separation.
Try Before You Buy Whenever you have an ebook/whitepaper/report to offer, you need to provide a preview. Sometimes, having a short Slideshare presentation on your page to showcase part of your content can bump your conversion rate (but you need to test).

6. Benchmark

benchmark-th
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

There are two different CTAs on the page, both in color and copy. These could use more consistency, and represent what the next step will reveal (I’m assuming the homepage).

No clear value proposition. I don’t know how the company differentiates from the 100 other email service providers out there.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

By including a strong value proposition that illustrates why Benchmark is unique, people will be more willing to click through to the next step.

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis:

  • Tagline: There could be a tagline right next to the logo (to use some of the wasted space up there) that helps define the company right away. After all, Benchmark doesn’t say email to me.
  • The primary headline: This could be stronger, again, differentiation is key here. Why should I care about Benchmark? What’s the main difference? I’d suggest a two-level headline, where the main header explains the core benefit, and the secondary headline backs it up with supporting information (stats, number of customers etc.) Then I’d move it over the top of the first paragraph and video.
  • Image or video of the software in use: Instead of focusing on a testimonial at the first level, I’d include some bullet points that support the headline again — and a video or screenshot of the software. (Then move the testimonial further down).

Test it and see…

Design principle How’d it do?
Social Proof The page talks about small business, and then features giant companies as the supporting proof of success. There seems to be a mismatch of company size that could make people perceive their offering is targeted toward the enterprise market.

7. Spousal immigration to Canada

immigration to canada landing page
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

Well this is a first! An infographic on a landing page. Very cool. Although time consuming to read.

The opening headline is too situational, rather than descriptive. It would be stronger if it were simplified, rather than cute. The infographic has it right: “Sponsor your spouse to Canada”.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

By changing the page title to directly describe the purpose of the page, the bounce rate will be lowered, and conversions lifted.

Replacing the infographic with key facts in written form will improve the clarity and time spent reading, resulting in more people completing the form, as they will have a better idea of what the benefits of using FWCanada are.

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis:

  • Page title: Change the page title to “Sponsor your spouse to come to Canada” and use a subheader that says something like “Let FWCanada make your sponsorship easy”.
  • Replace the infographic: Take the key points out of the infographic to inform readers who can apply, who can be a sponsor and how to apply. Probably in the form of an intro paragraph and sectioned sets of bullet points.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation It’s hard to stand out on this page as it’s made up entirely of boxes. I think the best thing that could be done for this page would be to add some white space to let it breathe.
White Space As I mentioned, this would be the saving grace for this design. By shuffling the page elements around, to offer up the required information before the call to action and by creating a better hierarchy of information, the page wouldn’t make you jump around wondering which order you should be consuming it in.
Urgency and Scarcity I think I’d urgently move away from an infographic and back to regular content, even though it’s a novel idea.
Social Proof The goal of the company here is to perform a legal procedure. For this reason it really needs some strong social proof. It’s the perfect service to leverage success stories. I would be reticent to try using this page without to be honest.

8. Falcon Social

falcon social landing page example
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

This page is actually a microsite, so I would first suggest ripping out the header and footer navigation to increase the on-page engagement and turn it into a promotion-specific landing page.

What Falcon Social does really well is something that I’ve been preaching for a long time, namely the use of lightboxes to show extended content without leaving the page. This happens if you click any of the ‘Learn more’ links.

However, the page lacks explanation of what the solution provides prior to asking someone to start a free trial. This could include having an introductory paragraph beside the video that mentions how long the trial is along and include a benefit statement.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

By changing the CTA copy to a benefit-driven statement and telling the customers what they will get when they sign up, more people will start a trial.

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis:

  • CTA copy: To test different CTAs, I’d run the original against a core benefit CTA such as “Grow Your Brand Socially” and a third CTA that says “Grow Your Brand Socially” with a smaller supporting “x-day free trial” directly beneath the button.
Design principle How’d it do?
Color and Contrast The CTAs on this page really stand out. If you try squinting at the page, they are rich with stark contrast.
White Space Having the space surrounding the main content area (on both sides), it gives the page a less cramped feeling. If you try to imagine the content going all the way to the edges — maybe to try and reduce the height of the page — it would be much harder on the eyes. There is a lot of content here, so it could still use a little more space vertically.
Social Proof This is a good way to use testimonials. It starts with a customer list, then moves on to hear what some of them are saying. In general the information hierarchy is nicely done on this page: intro, details, supporting statements.

9. Manpacks

What I like

  • It’s sexy: Predictable response? Yes, absolutely. That’s the whole point.
  • Validation: They jump right into showing off the famous publications that have featured their company. From a design perspective, the grey monotone prevents a mishmash of color, preventing any visual distraction from the call to action (CTA).
  • Value propositions: The main content on the page answers two simple questions: “What is it?” and “Why should I care?”
  • Testimonials: The second is one of the funniest I’ve read. “Socks as a Service” — genius.
  • Removal of doubt: The subtext below the CTA lowers the perceived risk, which can improve the click-through-rate (CTR).

What I’d change or test

  • Tagline: To make it more immediately clear what the purpose of the page is, I’d add a succinct tagline beside the logo.
  • Main title (core value proposition): There are a couple of ways to use a headline: A) use a very clear statement of what you are offering to enable an understanding of the purpose of your page, or B) entice your visitor to want to keep reading by using a seductive headline. They’ve gone with B here, presumably in an attempt to catch your attention and increase curiosity (or to push a particular button). For a test, I’d try approach A and make it really clear from the get go — what Manpacks is (this would work really well with the tagline to help pass a five-second test).

The example below shows an alternate page they created, presumably to speak to a different segment or create a different emotional trigger.

Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Here the rule of encapsulation is applied to the content. Adding the blue container separates the main content area nicely, making the reading experience much simpler.
Social Proof This is the best and funniest example of a testimonial I’ve ever seen, and fits the fun brand perfectly. The Tweet on the bottom-right contains the phrase: “Socks as a Service” playing off the SaaS acronym. Brilliant. Always makes me laugh.

10. That reset button is what I’d click

Notice the big red button on the bottom-left? Reset what? Your business idea? Your design skills? I just hope something magical happens when you click it.

What I like

Nothing… Awkward!

What I’d change or test

Unlock the potential for what? Living in a cul-de-sac in a Florida gated community? Be a little more specific about what the purpose of the page and offering is.

11. Sugar Daddies

What I like

Again, not much to boast about here.

What I’d change or test

Okay, if rich men are your thing, go for it. Who am I to stop you? But unless I’m mistaken, shouldn’t they at least be men? Three of these look distinctly female to me. BTW, I searched “get rich quick” while searching for examples, and this is what I got — I guess marriage/dating is one method.

I get that the hot women are there to help sell the idea (to the men) of using money to “get what you want”. But still, throw in a few statements of what the “service” provides. You’ll get more conversions if people know what to expect. And maybe add a little class. #JustSayin.

12. Zen Web Solutions

zen web solutions landing page example

What I like

  • Good message match on form: It’s important in form design to ensure that your form header matches the copy on the button. This really focuses the purpose of the page. Remember never to use the word “Submit,” as this breaks the rule and you lose the supporting information. So great job here.

What I’d change or test

  • Client results are hard to decipher: The client results image is an important part of the page header, yet it doesn’t really make much sense. I’m not sure what membership services are, so this could use a more descriptive image and supporting statement.
  • Form purpose could be simplified: Currently, the form has two purposes. A phone number to contact the company to discuss business, or to download a marketing guide. As the form action is to get the guide, I wouldn’t muddy the waters by having the phone number in there. I’d suggest placing it beneath the form area as a secondary action. Hit them with the free content first and then the request for them to call. You could also test flipping them into the opposite order.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues I like the way the “Find out how we can help you” statement has an arrow after it, pointing the way to the form, and the next step.
Color and Contrast There are quite a lot of orange elements on the page. By choosing a button color that’s not within the orange range you will make it stand out more. Blue or green would be good, and I’d also bump up the size to make it more dominant. The form container could also use a little something to make it stand out from an otherwise flat page.
Social Proof The testimonials also have a success metric net to them, which is a smart strategy. However, it could be communicated more effectively if it was written out, rather than trying to play with an image. Bad use of design.

13. Certify

certify landing page example

What I like

  • Expectations are communicated next to the form: Beneath the form header, you are told that someone will contact you within 24 hours

What I’d change or test

  • The video poster frame should be more enticing: A poster frame is the image that is visible on your video before the play button is clicked. In many cases this is left to be a screenshot of the start of the video. It can be more effective to have a descriptive and enticing benefit statement as the starting point — to make people want to watch.
  • Asking for contact too early: One thing I would test is the placement of the form. It’s good to be above the fold for the most part, but when you are asking someone to engage in communication with you, you might want to expose them to more information about your product offering first. It could be as simple as putting a few bullet points in place of the form and nudging it down a bit. This could mean that you need to move the third feature block somewhere else, and switch it to two or four. Or you could extend the header area to be longer, and balance the design by putting a relevant statement beneath the video, talking about a benefit of the service. Or you could switch the testimonial into this spot.
  • Never submit: Change the button copy to say something like “Please contact me for further information”. Polite and to the point.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation As I mentioned above, if you shifted the form down to sit half in and half out of the main header area, you could encapsulate it nicely in a design element that really separates it from the surrounding elements, by virtue of how it would break existing lines.
Color and Contrast The color choice for the two CTAs (just one please, tsk tsk) does contrast with it’s surroundings, but something about the design is just awfully flat. But at a distant glance they do stand out.
White Space There is some generous white space in the main content area which lets your eyes flow down the page through the content. It would be enhanced further by using a larger type size, with an appropriate line height to give the copy room to breathe also.
Try Before You Buy Video product demos are always a good window into what you are offering, and can simplify the subsequent content consumption as you can easily scan to seek out any remaining holes in your buying process. In this example, you could easily skip the 1, 2, 3 content below the video as it’s covered in the video.
Social Proof The subheader of the page is actually a testimonial which clarify the purpose of the product at the same time as adding social proof.

14. FluidSurveys

What I like

  • Clear value proposition: The headline is very simple and leaves no doubt about the purpose of the page and the product. And it’s nicely backed up by a well written explanation of some of the core benefits directly below.
  • Highlighted testimonial: The brushed highlight of the testimonial gives it a bit of extra design zing and prevents the page from feeling too text heavy.
  • Contrast: They chose two nicely contrasting colors to highlight important elements. The free label, and the form CTA.
  • Context of use: Their choice of imagery lets you know that the product can produce mobile-ready polls.
  • Validation: Like the example above, they provide a strong sense of trust by including a set of logos.
  • They’re Canadian! Woot!

What I’d change or test

  • Remove the footer navigation: Any extraneous navigation on a landing page can lead your visitors down the wrong path. I’d recommend removing the footer nav to simplify the available choices.
  • Explain the logos: Add a small label (like example #1) to explain that they are client logos (or sites that have featured/written about them).
Design principle How’d it do?
Color and Contrast Color is used here to set up the informational hierarchy appropriately: top, middle, bottom. Which allows you to visually break the information into three pieces, speeding the reading process. The CTA also stands out as the only green element on the page.
White Space Very simple layout with a spacious design. Let your eye wander around the page and you’ll see how easy it is to identify each block of information. Remove the footer navigation and it would be even stronger.
Social Proof Just a little touch of design behind the testimonial helps to make it stand out as different from the content section above it, helping to set a visual barrier that keeps your eyes in place when you are reading the three chunks above.

15. Golden Sands

What I like

  • Experience: It immediately makes me want to go on holiday and stay in a luxury hotel. The pillows are literally selling me softly.
  • Price: Travel is very much about price, and they get that out of the way right off the bat, so you can move on to the finder details after unerstanding if you can afford it or not. #smrt

What I’d change or test

  • The form header: Apply now? For what? It’s unclear what you’re applying for — I thought it was a booking site, but apparently I have to apply for something. Make it clear why people are filling out your form.
  • Primary value proposition: There’s no clear statement of what the page is for or what you’ll get. I’d try moving the hotel logos from the top and adding in a strong value prop.
  • Exclusive: There is a mention of an exclusive preview invitation, but it doesn’t explain what you’re being invited to. I’d also make this stand out more if it’s an important selling point — perhaps using some visual cues to draw the viewer’s eye.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation The use of opacity for the form container is a good example of drawing just enough attention to the form, while still following the soft design aesthetic of the page.
White Space The use of darker areas on both sides of the content helps to drive you through the content in the middle of the page, like a funnel.
Social Proof Good and bad. The Trip Advisor certificate of excellence let’s you know that a recognized authority has validated the company. The testimonials shown are anonymous, which reduces their impact (as they could have been made up). Always ask permission to use a testimonial and include the name of the person providing it for extra trust points.

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16. Echodemic

What I like

  • Opening statement: The opening sentence describes their offering perfectly and succinctly.
  • Honesty: It tells you the cost, so you can weigh up the potential value associated with extending your brand reach.
  • Clear contact method: The big phone number increases the trust factors by letting you know there are real people to deal with.

What I’d change or test

  • Move the form: Stick the form above the brand logos.
Design principle How’d it do?
Color and Contrast On this page, my eyes have no idea what to do. They jump around all over the page, trying to find an area of importance. The contrast needs to be knocked way back and be aligned better in terms of heavy vs. light. Don’t even get me started on the form. Even if you manage to work your way down to it, it’s so bland and nondescript, with no real purpose attributed to it.
White Space Re-architecting the page to focus on one element alone with two columns of visually related content would greatly simplify the reading process.
Social Proof The Facebook follower number lends some credibility to their appeal, as it’s what they are selling as a service. But not enough to really inspire confidence. I would remove this until the number is significant. How are the logos connected? Are they just hotel names to help you understand the point of the page? Or are they existing customers? Make this clear with a title if they are customers.

17. Demandforce

What I like

  • Market share: They already seem to have a 30% market share — invest.

What I’d change or test

  • Big form: There are only two required fields, so don’t make a visitor feel like they are taking on a long labor to get information. Scale back to just name and phone number. And don’t start the conversation with “Fill in this form.” That’s the equivalent of walking into a clothing store and being told to buy a bunch of clothes before you even try them on. Seduce, or even coerce, but don’t instruct.
  • Call to action: The visitor isn’t really looking to sign up — they’d probably respond more to “Request Tour” or “Get Started”.
  • Footer: The links in the footer, other than Privacy, are just distractions. Get rid of as many leaks as possible to keep conversion high.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation I like the inverted color of the form container here. The white stands out nicely from the solid background (to steal a comment away from Miss Contrast).
Social Proof As seen on!: Right at the top is a testimonial that describes a benefit and associates the product with a third-party authority, and then backs it up with a great quote from the company showing how it made them extra money (who doesn’t like that!?) — they even have an Amazon review :)

18. Boost Your Search — free audit

What I like

  • ROBOTS: We like robots.

What I’d change or test

  • Stick to your guns: Choose one action and stick with it. In cases like this, the email lead is not nearly as valuable as the customer.
  • Make two pages: Differentiate the actions “Free audit” and “Paid Plan” into separate landing pages so you can segment the traffic from channels like PPC.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Too much. Too much.
Directional Cues There’s a tiny one in the form header, but that’s only useful if your eyes can stop darting around the screen.
Color and Contrast Separation of colors with contrast: This is my biggest problem with the page. Everything is in the same three colors, making it super hard to distinguish what the intended conversion goal (interaction point) of the page is. I would try to knock everything back to be within the same basic color hue, so the pricing grid can stand out. I’d also make the two pricing tiers on the outside, the same muted color, to make the recommended (center) tier the most dominant.
White Space None.
Urgency and Scarcity Only the need to run away.
Social Proof Back it up: Cite the sources (statistics and testimonial) show that you didn’t just make them up to get the sale.

19. Eureka Report

What I like

  • Red, White & Black: The color scheme is classic and trustworthy; this is clearly business oriented.

What I’d change or test

  • Wait what: The product, Eureka Report, is overpowered by the incentive. Am I getting the Eureka Report or Time Magazine. Fix the hierarchy so it’s clear what the purpose of the page is. Try switching the positioning of the 10 reasons block and the form block.
  • Top x: As popular as Top 10s are, smaller lists are punchier and more memorable. Try 5 or 7 — that will give you a littler more space to play with too.
Design principle How’d it do?
Urgency and Scarcity This is design principle #5, and is utilized in the top-right corner with a deadline. It would be even better if it were located beside the form, to increase the urgency of the action you are taking.

20. Monsoon — the value of association

What I like

  • Modern tech: Speaks to a very specific modern technology sector (catches the HTML5 nerds is what I’m saying).
  • Why?: Strong section on the importance of the company’s technology.

What I’d change or test

  • Mobile Apps: The purpose *appears* to be to build mobile apps, but it’s buried in small text beneath the main imagery — much better to use large text to convey the message and *then* follow it up with “context of use” images where you see apps used on mobile devices.
  • Talk to us: Why? What is the benefit of talking to you about your project? Try adding a direct benefit beside the CTA that says “Talk to us about your next project, so that we can a,b,c the hell out of it…!”
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation The form is above the fold and contained nicely, although it could use a little more contrast and a visual cue to point out that this is what you want the customer to do.
Social Proof Clients: Put the title above the images so it’s clear why they are there.

21. Dev Auditions

What I like

  • Clear value proposition: It’s clearly about hiring better people — focused on dev. But the headline could be clearer (see below).
  • Walkthough: The three-step process paints a simple picture of how the company operates.
  • Close with the benefits: I like the start, middle and end of this page. Like a good story it leads you through what you need to know, ending with what you’ll get and a closing CTA. +1.

What I’d change or test

  • Clearer headline: “Hire Smarter” is generic — if you’re looking at dev hires then make the dev logo bigger or change the main headline into something with greater clarity such as “Hire Smarter Dev Talent”.
  • Types of position: As it’s recruiting, I’d include some scope of the types of talent covered as development can be wide ranging. What are your areas of expertise, and geographical boundaries?
Design principle How’d it do?
Color and Contrast Here the color choices create a series of segments as you move down the page, and each piece of content stands out well from it’s containing area without becoming a distraction to the page as a whole.
White Space The page is nicely separated with visual chunks, which always aids the reading process. All in all, this has a nice professional feel about how the content is presented. I would spend time on this page.
Social Proof After a while some logos start to become less powerful. Everyone has them, so you need to get creative about their use. My recommendation is to try and position an actual quote from a company in context with a semantically related piece of content, such as a feature description.

22. RightSignature

What I like

  • Clear info about what you’ll get, including freebies for extra incentive: The text beneath the button helps put the visitor at ease by describing what will happen next — and the addition of some free usage is a good incentive to sign up.
  • A headline that describes exactly what the product does: I love this headline. It’s so clear and to the point that you couldn’t fail to understand what the service does instantly.
  • Demonstration of simplicity: The three-step design below the main area makes it really quick to understand how the service would be used, which will limit the number of bad leads you’ll get as they know what they’re signing up for.

What I’d change or test

  • Nothing!: I could go on all day about why I like this page, but I have too many more to write so I’ll stop now. Great job, RightSignature.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation The first thing you see on this page is the form — it’s beautifully positioned and designed for clarity using the rule of encapsulation. And it will always be above the fold.
Color and Contrast The dominant color on the page is also the most important, which makes you consume the content in the right order.
Social Proof High profile testimonials: Big trust factors come from these testimonials as they help describe the benefits through the use of well-chosen quotes, at the same time as showing off the exposure the service has received.

23. Monetate ebook

What I like

  • Design of ebook image shows professionalism: By having a nicely designed cover you show that time and effort went into its creation (as opposed to a boring plain white cover).
  • Simple bullets break down why you would want the ebook: The headline for the bullets “You’ll learn” really sets the tone that it’s useful, and listing what you will get out of reading it (as opposed to what’s in it) is a much stronger benefits-driven approach.
  • Clear definition in headline of what you’ll get: Sometimes it’s nice with an ebook to know it’s not War and Peace. By limiting this to 10 tips, they stand a good chance of increased conversions by providing an easy to consume resource. While long ebooks can be authoritative, they often go unread.

What I’d change or test

  • Social sharing location: People are more inclined to share something right after they actually get it. So I’d suggest placing the social sharing buttons on the form confirmation page. This also has the benefit of removing distractions from the main page.
Design principle How’d it do?
Try Before You Buy People react well to the psychology of try-before-you-buy, so adding a preview of the ebook (first chapter or a few choice pages) would help people know what they are exchanging their personal data for.

24. Go Fun

What I like

  • Not much, I’m afraid.

What I’d change or test

  • Change the informational hierarchy: The first thing you see is “SIGN UP NOW,” which is very aggressive, as there’s no real supporting reason to go with it. Message match is critical for conversion, so make this first statement match the ads/link text people are arriving from.
  • What is this?: There is no description of what Go Fun is. Most people’s reaction to confusion is to hit the back button. On further exploration, there is a tiny portion of small text that explains what it is. This should be big and prominent. They are asking for 20 emails of your friends, you need some serious trust factors on the page to give out your friends’ emails.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation and Contrast The contrast of the primary area puts some focus on the form, but the form is so overshadowed by the text that it tends to disappear.

25. Fast Track Sales

What I like

  • Strong headline explains value prop in seconds: They sell homes fast, and they explain it fast. Great headline.
  • Form headline and CTA explain clearly what you’ll get: Nuff said.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Clearly the form is the most important area of the page. Both through the contrasting form container and the fact that the dude is holding it.
Directional Cues You might consider the large man a cue of sorts; he uses direct eye contact to draw you into that part of the page.
Color and Contrast The CTA stands out nicely on the page, drawing your attention to the form.
Social Proof A strong set of press logos adds trust to the perception that they have a good public track record.

26. OCD — clinical trials

What I like

  • CTA asks a question: Questions are very powerful persuasion devices, and placing one on the CTA (button) can help people convert as they want to know the answer.
  • Photos help relieve the pressure: By showing pictures of regular, everyday happy people, they put you at ease by de-stigmatizing a common issue that can affect anyone.

What I’d change or test

  • Move the social buttons: As I keep saying, put these on your confirmation page. If people have just converted they are more likely to share.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues If the color of the bottom section weren’t orange, the arrow above the form area would carry more weight, and would pull you from the word OCD down to the form.
Color and Contrast Here the contrast takes your attention away from the form, and is a little bit over the top visually. Don’t stare too long.

27. Learn French

What I like

  • Use of video: The page is kept simple because the video removes the burden of extra copy, a good technique for enhancing page clarity. It’s also quite an emotional video about the founder’s reason for starting the company after marrying someone from a foreign country. Very authentic.
  • Differentiation: The way they leverage the concept of a conversation rather than just learning words, seems likely to be more appealing to potential customers.
  • Clear CTA: Learn French. Yup.

What I’d change or test

  • CTA copy: I’d try changing the button text to “Learn Conversational French” to maintain the concept of the page.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues There is a small one above the form, but it took me a while to notice it, which is the opposite of the point.
White Space The content areas areas are broken up well by the imagery. I would make the text bigger and more spacious to enhance the readability.

28. Kingsley Judd Wine Investments

What I like

  • Wine!: Gotta like that.
  • Two-word headline: You don’t get much simpler than that. In just two words they’ve told you exactly what the page is about.
  • Beautifully simple and compact design: The blurred image is clear enough to convey the vineyard feeling, while pumping the form box right out at you. Great use of contrast for the form container and button.
  • Incentive: Having an opt-in for a free prize draw is a good way to entice conversions.

What I’d change or test

  • Terms & Conditions: If you are going to have a prize draw, you should have a link to Terms & Conditions.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues The arrow above the form is subtle but helps to tie in the statement above it with the container. It actually worked in reverse for me, leading my eye up to read the text.
Encapsulation Beautifully done.
Color and Contrast The red button is a smart design choice here. Not only does it stand out, but it connects visually with only one other element. The word WIN.
White Space Lots of it. Especially below the main banner area. Very easy on the eye.

29. Box

Box---Simple-Online-Collaboration--Online-File-Storage,-FTP-Replacement,-Team-Workspaces-560
Click for full-size image

Box is a file-sharing service based out of Los Altos, California. Over the last seven years they’ve raised $248 million of venture capital funding.

What I like

  • Does what it says on the box (see what I did there?): The headline copy says it all: No jargon involved. Simplicity appeals, especially when it’s solving a very real business problem. This kind of language also helps with SEO, as it mirrors the kind of query someone might use when searching for a file-sharing solution. This is backed up with good clear subheadings, which aid the eye when skimming content.

What I’d change or test

  • Weak integration of video: The folks at Box have decided to make the video fade into the background of the header image. I didn’t even see it when I first arrived. This is one of those times where it pays not to try and be clever. I’ve run tests that made it clear that showing the video on the page converts better vs. expecting people to find your link to pop it up.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Your eyes are immediately drawn to the form area due to the low impact white area to the left. Coupled with the form header, you get what’s going on very quickly (that it’s a free trial). However, adding a benefit statement into the header would explain what signing up for a trial would mean for you.
Social Proof A statement of a large customer base can increase confidence that they’ve been around a while.

30. GoToMyPC

GoToMyPC-560
Click for full-size image

GoToMyPC is an online service for remote-access to your home and work computers.

What I like

  • Clear copy: Features aren’t the strong point here. The main point is that you can access your computer remotely. GoToMyPC focuses on a headline and copy that sells the benefits in simple language. Jargon is a real killer for landing pages, so unless you have a very niche audience, don’t fall into its clutches.
  • Layout: The layout of a page should read as we would read a book. This page does that, creating a logical journey: headline, image and description, sign-up, post sign-up actions.

What I’d change or test

  • The form position: Switching the form to appear on the right vs. left (and vice versa) is a common test that can show surprising results. Different cultures read in different directions, so give that a try. Switched around, it would also let you read the “Works on” before you deal with the form.
Design principle How’d it do?
Color and Contrast The dominant element on the page is the CTA. Great. Not so much. The word “Continue” says nothing about the purpose of the page/form.
White Space Very little white space on this page. As a result I found my eyes jumping around a lot — mainly fighting between the desire to read the content at the beginning and the “Try It Free” statement. There should be a strong headline at the top to prevent this (but that’s not so much white space as it is content design).

31. CarFax

carfax-th
Click image for full-size view

What I like

  • Straight to the point: The main headline asks a question that immediately weeds out anyone that’s arrived here mistakenly. “Buying a used car?” Why yes! I’m in the right place.
  • Online vs. offline: The page asks for the car’s VIN — but you’ll most likely only get that by looking for it on the car in person. Luckily they have a mobile page, too, so you can do it on a smartphone. Winning points!

What I’d change or test

  • Nothing. I love this page! They clearly had some smart people architect and design the page.
  • Button copy: Okay, I’d change one minor thing. The CTA should say “View Report” instead of “Go”.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Here they encapsulate three pieces of content, which helps you read the content in stepped chunks.
Color and Contrast They use the color blue well to lead you to an interaction. First you read the headline, “Buying a used car?” and then you immediately jump down to the next blue area — the button that says “View Sample Report”. That’s a nice connection and communication flow.
Try Before You Buy They have a sample report for you to look at right off the bat. This is a great way to develop confidence in your visitors, letting them know what’s in store for them.

32. Oprah Sweepstakes

oprah-th
Click image for full-size view

What I like

  • Media brand match: This is what I talked about at the start. There is a clear correlation between the landing page and the magazine cover. Oprah consistently appears happy, using a strong personal connection (direct eye contact) to make you feel comfortable.

What I’d change or test

  • Submit: Apparently Oprah’s designers didn’t read my last landing page examples post. The word “Submit” says nothing about what will happen when clicked. I’d change it to a double line CTA that says:

    First line: Subscribe to O Magazine
    Second line (smaller text): To be entered in the $25k sweepstakes

  • Headline and subheader could be better: It’s a double purpose page — subscribe to the magazine and get entered into the sweepstakes. But the headline only says subscribe (not to the magazine) so it could be read as “subscribe to the sweepstakes”. Minor point, but clarity is important. You don’t want have to read all that fine print.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues Oprah creates a strong connection with visitors using the direct eye contact approach. You can use line of sight as a directional cue, or you can trap people on your page by looking directly at them.
Color and Contrast The CTA stands out only because of it’s size. Otherwise it’s visually hidden amidst the overall color scheme. I don’t think it’s a big deal here though as there is no other interaction point on the page to fight with it.
White Space The text on this page is horribly crushed together, making it really hard to figure out the convoluted details of this double-barreled offer.
Social Proof Oprah. That’s enough right?

33. Intuit

intuit-th
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Yet more proof that the big guys are doing it right. This is an excellent landing page. Here’s why:

What I like

  • Benefit-based headline: The headline indicates that there are other options out there, but this is a better way to do it. Instead of describing what it does it uses a benefit to enhance the headline.
  • Use of directional cue: Using directional cues aids the persuasive nature of a page — here an arrow is used to point you in the right direction.
  • Descriptive CTA: It’s obvious that you are going to start a free trial.
  • Social proof: The page is littered with social proof indicators: impressive list of customer logos, security symbols and an Editor’s Choice award.

What I’d change or test

  • How much is it? There’s no mention of how much it will cost after the 30-day free trial. A good way to include this is to say: “Free for 30-days then pick a plan starting at $xx”.
  • No credit card required: This is very important information to know, yet it’s buried as small text. I’d recommend making it subtext in the button to reinforce the lack of a signup barrier.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues The blue arrow certainly makes it clear what you are supposed to do and works nicely with the contrasting color of the CTA.
Color and Contrast The CTA stands out from the rest of the page, but other than that it’s a bit cluttered.
White Space To reduce the clutter, extend the length of the page a bit to let it breathe. It feels like someone asked for the whole thing to be squeezed into as small an area as possible.
Social Proof Here’s an example of client logos that works for me. The reason being that they explain their target consumers (large Fortune 100 companies). At least, I hope that’s the target market! (I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s not as I write this). So maybe I take back my statement :) I do definitely like the “Editor’s Choice” badge — which further reinforces that this might be a lower level consumer product.

34. Adobe Test & Target

adobe-th
Click image for full-size view

What I like

  • Accidental genius: When the page loads, the form takes about 2 seconds to appear. Clearly being pulled dynamically from a server somewhere. However, what it does is draw your attention to the form as soon as it loads. Personally I love it as a persuasion device.
  • Pixel perfect headline: The use of whitespace around the headline couple with it’s clarity of communication make for a great headline.
  • Hierarchy of content: Adobe break the content nicely into nicely flowing chunks:
    • Page purpose
    • Benefit statement
    • Target market based benefit bullet points
    • Action statement

    Copy this flow of content — it’s really good.

What I’d change or test

  • The submit button — jeez: Make it say “Get our Whitepaper”.
  • Required? Make it clear which fields are required; this will make the form appear shorter than it is.

The blandness of this page works to it’s advantage to make the CTA stand out. Honestly though, the page is so simple that it would be hard to squeeze much conversion lift out of it, without attacking the number of form fields, which would be my first plan of action.

35. Is this for kids making money?

Here’s another shocker.

Looks like you can play with toys while making wads of cash at the same time. Sounds like my kinda gig.

What I like

I hit the back button the moment I saw this site.

What I’d change or test

I came back to look at the landing page for this post. It’s beyond confusing. First off, I’d extract the content from the banner looking thing at the top of the page, as it looks like an advert, which will make people gloss over it. And it has the most important info in it! What the site is actually about.

36. Who eats electronics to lose weight?

What’s more scary than a big fake movie guy with a giant knife? Knocking on a door that says come in, we have comfy sofas and free beer, and then falling 300ft out of a building (the door led to the outside on the 20th floor) cos they lied and what you wanted wasn’t behind the door. Where is this going? Good question.

What I liked

This page isn’t bad…

What I’d change or test

While the page isn’t bad, the landing “experience” is bad. Why? I searched for “weight loss.” I know there are tablets for that, but not usually the 9-inch electronic variety. And the bunny ain’t gonna save you this time. TELUS.

Stop bidding on irrelevant keywords!


Well there you have it — 36 landing page designs analyzed, critiqued, enjoyed and ready for copying and perfecting. I hope you were able to take away a lot of juicy ideas for your next design. Tell you what? Why don’t you jump into the comments and let me know? I’ll see you there.

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36 Creative Landing Page Design Examples: A Showcase and Conversion Critique

The 7 Principles of Conversion-Centered Design [Free 56-Page Ebook]

I’d like to meet the person who goes into IKEA to pick up a new fridge and walks out with only the fridge. If you’re like me, you inevitably wind up with a car full of junk products, an ice cream in one hand and two hotdogs in the other.

That’s because IKEA stores aren’t designed to help you achieve a single goal.

conversion-centered-design-principles-ikea-650
That’s a pretty crappy attention ratio. Image credit: ALEXANDER LEONOV via Shutterstock.com.

They don’t care about the “optimal route” to the cash register — they want you to snake in and out of the showrooms. They want you to stop and fantasize about chopping imaginary vegetables on their impeccable countertops.

If you’re shopping for a new fridge and you know that’s all you need, you’re better off going to an appliance showroom, where the goal is clear: Get your gadget and get out.

This focus on a singular goal is the same focus that lies at the heart of our latest ebook:

Maximize Conversions Using Conversion-Centered Design

Download this ebook and become an expert at building delightful, high-converting marketing campaigns.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

For a marketer, conversion means convincing a visitor to do one thing and one thing only. Not one of many things, not accomplishing it in under seven seconds, not successfully navigating from one point to another — just completing a single business-driven objective.

Conversion-Centered Design (CCD) helps you design experiences that guide the visitor towards completing that one specific action, using persuasive design and psychological triggers to increase conversions. In other words, it’s about persuasion.

And as you’ll learn, persuading your prospects to take the desired action you want them to take doesn’t have to be difficult (especially when you’re not distracting them with 99¢ hotdogs).

You’ll learn:

  • The theory behind each of the 7 CCD principles (Attention, Context, Clarity, Congruence, Credibility, Closing, Continuance) and how they affect conversion rates.
  • How to leverage the principles to create and optimize high-converting marketing campaigns.
  • Why landing pages are instrumental to improving the ROI of your marketing campaigns.

You can grab the framework as a downloadable ebook above, or check out the content on our interactive site here.

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The 7 Principles of Conversion-Centered Design [Free 56-Page Ebook]

14 LinkedIn Hacks That Will Triple the Size of Your Network in Two Weeks

You probably know this already, but LinkedIn is amazing. When it comes to networking with professionals, there is simply no better place to hang out. Not Snapchat. Not Facebook. Not Huzza. Not Blab. Nada. LinkedIn is the professional’s jam. Sitting at 433 million members (as of April 2016) and growing at a rate of 2 new members per second, LinkedIn is a great place to attract business users who are serious about their stuff. Get a load of these statistics (as of April 2015): To break it down even further, here are some key demographics of the LinkedIn user base:…

The post 14 LinkedIn Hacks That Will Triple the Size of Your Network in Two Weeks appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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14 LinkedIn Hacks That Will Triple the Size of Your Network in Two Weeks

What Decision Makers Need to Know Before Investing in CRO or A/B Testing Software

You have been hearing about A/B testing for a while. It always sounded useful, but was never quite the need of the hour. But now the sounds have gotten louder and you are reevaluating the need for conversion optimization.

If that seems familiar, this article is for you.

In its 2016 Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Report, ConversionXL notes that more and more organizations have begun to care about CRO. Of the 673 responses they collected, here’s what the results showed:

CRO adoption

If you are seriously considering CRO, here’s what you must know before investing in CRO or A/B testing software:

1) A/B Testing and CRO Aren’t the Same

A/B testing is a technique, and CRO is the process that involves the technique.

For sure, A/B testing has revolutionized the way online businesses look at growth. It has enabled them to make decisions reliably to improve conversion rates. The reliability seemed magical. However, the industry hit disillusionment and then realized that A/B testing is only an enabler, not the panacea.

A/B testing is exactly what it says—a test for ideas. It’s not a magic wand nor a design roulette that works on luck.

From the initial experience, a series of crucial realizations should follow:

  • A/B tests are only as good as the hypotheses they test.
  • Hypotheses are only as good as the research behind them.
  • Finally, sustainable business growth is only as good as the management of this entire process called CRO.

A/B testing is an indispensable component of CRO, but it’s only one component. See below:

CRO process
Source

This distinction between A/B testing and Conversion Rate Optimization is very crucial. Conversion optimization is a process that needs to be repeated, but A/B testing is a technique — a statistical tool. Both these terms are often confused for good reason. For seasoned, successful testers, good tests are inconceivable without a good process.

2) You Need More than an A/B Testing Tool

We have already established that whether you talk about “A/B testing” or “Conversion Optimization” in your internal discussions, what you need in the end is a process. A systematic approach to hunt down barriers to conversion on your website and eliminate these barriers. Such an approach requires:

There are multiple tools that will help accomplish specific aspects of this . Also, there are project management tools that help you set up a process for integrating these steps.

Here is a list of the stages involved in making a sound business decision.

decision making
Source

The objective of such a detailed process is to ensure “sound” decisions. These decisions minimize the probability of loss and maximize the probability of gain.

You need to perform all the steps at one place with unrestricted access to data collection, manipulation, and validation.

A system that enables you to make such decisions requires a platform with connected capabilities. Think of any marketing automation software—Hubspot, Marketo, or Eloqua—these are all platforms with a network of tools that communicate with each other—email, social media, content, and paid channels.

3) Decide What You Want to Know through A/B Testing

Till some time ago, most A/B testing tools ran tests the same way. The underlying statistical framework used to interpret numbers and choose a “winning variation” was the same. Currently, A/B testing tools and CRO platforms such as VWO offer you a choice. With choice comes the responsibility to evaluate pros and cons and then choose what best suits your needs.

The choices are:

  • Frequentist Method of Computing
  • Bayesian Method of Computing

Both these methods present different approaches to testing and ask different questions from the data they collect. Therefore, these methods fundamentally affect the level of optimization you can achieve.

Are you looking to find the infallible truth, or are you looking to make the smartest business decision?

Bayesian - Cartoon
Source

What the image says: The former conclusion of 16.6% (5 times/30 days) that “Glasses” found out first is the Frequentist way to look at things. (The example is a bit wrong because 5 times is probably too low to be statistically significant, but it works to demonstrate the thinking.) The latter conclusion of 75% is Bayesian reasoning. This reasoning considers supplementary information (that Glasses complimented her eyes) that was available. Which one seems a smarter, yet very reasonable, conclusion?

Let’s consider that your team sets up a test between a control (A) and a variation (B).

Here’s what these two methods find out for you:

Frequentist Method

“What are the chances of observing a result at least as large as this, if the test was done between A and an identical copy of A and on the same sample size?”

This question doesn’t sound very straightforward, because it is not.

This method helps statisticians and truth-seekers, incrementally reduce the improbability of a wrong conclusion to help arrive at the “truth.” The Frequentist method was designed to understand the probability of drawing the wrong conclusion. It is a cautious, and somewhat slower, approach to arrive at “the truth.”

Let’s say the p value for a test is computed as 0.03. When the test is stopped, the conversion rates of A and B are Ca and Cb.

Frequentist testing tools interpret this figure and display the result as “Chance to beat A is 97%.” However, what the p value indicates is that if you had conducted the same test a 1000 times between A and a copy of A, at 30 instances, you would observe a result at least as extreme as the difference between Cb and Ca.

This is not the same as saying “B will beat A by a margin of Cb minus Ca 97% of the times.” All that the p-value represents is the improbability of A and B to be identical.

The p-value does not discuss the probability of the variations to be different, or by how much. This value also does not tell you what you should do, although these are probably what you want to know.

Bradley Effron explains the Frequentist vs Bayesian thinking in his presidential address at the American Sociological Association:

“The frequentist aims for universally acceptable conclusions, ones that will stand up to adversarial scrutiny. The FDA for example doesn’t care about Pfizer’s prior opinion of how well its new drug will work, it wants objective proof. Pfizer, on the other hand, may care very much about its own opinions in planning future drug development.”

This analysis does not mean that the Frequentist results have no meaning in a business setup. These comparative results let you to be fairly sure that one choice is better than another. However, that’s an indirect way of saying it and any attempt to understand “by how much” leads to hidden fallacies.

Bayesian Method

Bayesian lets you ask the question:

What choice should I make right now to make the most money? Continue the test, stop the test with A, or stop the test with B?”

This is made possible because Bayesian approaches the outcome—“conversion rate”—as a fluctuating variable. With additional data that it gathers, Bayesian updates the probability of the outcome—the conversion rate—to lie between a range.

Chris Stucchio,

Director of Data Sciences at VWO, explains:

For example, before observing any data, one might think all conversion rates (for two variations A and B) are equally likely. At this time, both A and B would have a 50% chance of being the winner.

At this time, the financial risk is also high—its totally plausible that B has a 20% conversion rate and A has a 5% conversion rate, so choosing A would be a bad decision! The opposite situation is also very plausible, in which case B is a bad decision. At this point, we should just wait and continue the test.

Then when new information is updated (such as an A/B test), that opinion changes. After obtaining data, we become confident that B has a 90% chance of beating A. We also come to believe that A has a conversion rate between, for example, 3% and 6%, while B has a conversion rate between 5.9% and 9%.

At this point, we’ve eliminated the risk involved in choosing B. It’s still theoretically possible that A is better—A might have a 5.97% conversion rate while B has only 5.93%. But the financial cost of that possibility is very low, so choosing B is a very safe business decision. Not the truth maybe, but a wise business decision.

bayesian vs frequentist
Source

Bradley needs to be quoted again where he summarizes the differences in the approach:

The Bayesian-Frequentist debate reflects two different attitudes to the process of doing science, both quite legitimate. Bayesian statistics is well-suited to individual researchers, or a research group, trying to use all the information at its disposal to make the quickest possible progress. In pursuing progress, Bayesians tend to be aggressive and optimistic with their modeling assumptions. Frequentist statisticians are more cautious and defensive.

Most tools in the market make use of Frequentist, while some like VWO have graduated to Bayesian; still others use both in conjunction.

Chris Stucchio, explains on ConversionXL why Bayesian trumps Frequentist approach when it comes to making business decisions, where the onus is not on finding the ‘truth’ but on making the most rational business decision. “One is mathematical—it’s the difference between “proving” a scientific hypothesis and making a business decision. There are many cases where the statistics strongly support “choose B” in order to make money, but only weakly support “B is the best is a true statement”. B has a 50% chance of beating A by a lot (say B is 15% better) and a 50% chance of being approximately the same (say 0.25% worse to 0.25% better). In that case, it’s a great business decision to choose B—maybe you win something, maybe you lose nothing.

On the business front, here’s how SmartStats, VWO’s Bayesian engine fares against our older Frequentist engine.

If you are interested to learn more about the Bayesian approach, you can find a detailed and intuitive approach to understanding the Bayesian method here.

And here’s Chris explaining the inherent limitation of Frequentist and how Bayesian saves the day.

4) You Will Need More than a Platform; You Need People

Someday, we might have platforms that don’t just enable to you to make decisions, but also make decisions for you. Until then, you need more than just platforms—a set of people that possesses a unique set of skills to use the platform and move the needle.

The skills that a CRO team must possess can be broadly grouped into the following:

Strategy Development

You will need a plan for your CRO program from determining the goals or key metrics of the program prioritizing activities such as hypothesis building to A/B testing to leveraging the learning to fuel further tests. Such ownership requires context about your business and at the very least, your organization’s conversion funnels.

Data Analysis

CRO is as much about being proactive as it is about reacting to obvious conversion issues. Data analysis involves monitoring of website data and user behavior to identify areas of improvement—leaks and areas of friction in your conversion funnel. A data analyst needs to make sense of CRO jargon and ensure that everyone in the team understands the test results in simple terms.

Conversion-centered Designing

Design is a crucial aspect of CRO, as it is the culmination of the proposed changes and acts as the interface between your understanding of your users’ and their interaction with your business. Such responsibility requires you to have knowledge of persuasive design principles and psychological triggers.

Persuasive Copywriting

Copy is the other element that your visitors interact with apart from design, and it requires just as much thought and expertise. Some key aspects of conversion optimization that persuasive copy can help with are reducing visitors anxieties, reflecting their motivation, and delighting them.

Web Development

You also need a web developer. Translating your design and copy into an error-free experience lies in the hands of this developer. From creating variations and setting up and tracking events and goals to transferring data from one system to another, the developer’s role in a CRO environment is indispensable.

To provide an in-depth and comprehensive account of what it takes to run a successful optimization program, check out our interview with Michal Parizek, senior eCommerce and Optimization Specialist at Avast.

Wrap-Up

A/B testing is a test; CRO is a potent growth discipline.

Here’s what we covered in this post:

  • The difference between A/B testing and Conversion Rate Optimization
  • For sustained growth, you’ll need a connected platform rather than an A/B testing tool
  • Different A/B testing platforms answer different questions, choose what you need answered
  • CRO doesn’t end with a platform, you’ll need people who can run CRO.

Currently, most organizations that believe they are doing CRO are only doing patchy A/B testing. With time, it will evolve into the discipline it needs to be. When it becomes that, where do you want to be—in the gallery or in the race?
Carpe diem.

cta

The post What Decision Makers Need to Know Before Investing in CRO or A/B Testing Software appeared first on VWO Blog.

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What Decision Makers Need to Know Before Investing in CRO or A/B Testing Software

Why Your Lazy Attempts at Copy are Killing Your Conversions

This is the greatest article you’ll ever read. Everything you’ve read in your life until this point pales in comparison to the wondrous insights you’re about to experience. Upon finishing this piece you’ll become the world’s greatest marketer, one who’s mastered the infinitely detailed nuances of the English language and how to leverage them for the success of your business. I could sit here and write grandiose claims all day long. I could regale you with unbelievable promises, tales of unparalleled success and the secrets to profit until I’m blue in the face. But honestly, would you believe me? Probably…

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Why Your Lazy Attempts at Copy are Killing Your Conversions

Ways To Reduce Content Shifting On Page Load

Have you ever opened a website, started reading and, after some time had passed and all assets had finished loading, you found that you’ve lost your scroll position? I undergo this every day, especially when surfing on my mobile device on a slow connection — a frustrating and distracting experience.

Ways To Reduce Content Shifting On Page Load

Every time the browser has to recalculate the positions and geometries of elements in the document, a reflow happens. This happens when new DOM elements are added to the page, images load or dimensions of elements change. In this article, we will share techniques to minimize this content shifting.

The post Ways To Reduce Content Shifting On Page Load appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Ways To Reduce Content Shifting On Page Load

How to Make Your Own Explainer Video

You can pound your keyboard for months – trying to craft perfect copy that succinctly explains your product or service, but sometimes all you really need is a great explainer video. Something that sits front and center on your home page and delivers your message perfectly. Something like this: You can go to one of the many explainer video companies, you can hire a freelancer, or you can try to make one yourself. Each of those options has its pros and cons. A company might be expensive, but you’ll get a quality video. Freelancers are cheaper, but it’s hard to…

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How to Make Your Own Explainer Video

Mastering eCommerce Conversions with VWO and Demandware

Shopping Cart and Conversion Optimization platforms together have been making lives simpler for eCommerce business owners. With its latest release, VWO adds Demandware to its kitty of third-party app integrations to allow easy configuration of VWO SmartCode on Demandware stores. In addition, eCommerce stores using Demandware can also track their store revenue and configure custom URLs to run tests.

Using the plug-in, Demandware users can now directly add their preferred type of VWO SmartCode (Asynchronous or Synchronous) to all pages on their shopping website and get cracking with their A/B testing campaign. The plug-in also allows eCommerce websites to track revenue conversions in their preferred format, using different combinations of tax and shipping charges along with the actual value of each order.

A key outcome of this integration is that businesses running Demandware can enable custom URL tracking. This tracking allows running test campaigns on SEO-friendly URLs that don’t have a common pattern. In a typical eCommerce store, URLs are often morphed to match frequent search queries. However, the changing nature of these URLs makes it difficult for marketing platforms to recognize their page types. VWO’s custom URL tracking allows users to easily classify URLs into different categories such as Product Page, Category Page, or Checkout Page, and then run test campaigns on a specific group of pages together.

How Does it Work?

Installing the VWO code on your Demandware store is a one-minute process. Simply download the VWO plug-in and import it into your Demandware studio. Now, follow these simple steps to configure the VWO cartridge for your store with your preferred settings.

In simple words, there is no need to individually add the VWO code to all pages on your Demandware store. The VWO plug-in does all that for you in no time! Also, don’t forget to configure your revenue tracking with VWO and enable custom URLS for running targeted campaigns.

VWO Free-trial CTA

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Mastering eCommerce Conversions with VWO and Demandware