Are you satisfied with the conversion rate on your landing page?
I hope the answer to that question - no matter what your conversion rate - is an emphatic "No!" Because no matter what your conversion rate is, there's always the chance that it can be better.
You'll never know how much money you're leaving on the table until you start measuring, optimizing and testing. If you're a newbie to website testing, there are two different schools of thought as to how you should get started.
The first says you should start with an "unimportant" page on your site. Use that page as your "practice field" to avoid making any grave mistakes while you're learning the ins and outs of testing. I, on the other hand, subscribe to the second school of thought: start with a high traffic web page so you can see results more quickly. If there's one thing the internet era has done to all of us, it's turned us into a society of "immediate gratification seekers". We want results now. We don't want to wait for the answer.
The danger in starting your website testing with an "unimportant page" is that it will take too long to see any real results. You'll grow impatient, you'll get bored, and chances are you'll abandon the concept of testing before you've had a chance to appreciate its amazing merits.
So let's start with your highest traffic page (if you're scared you'll make a mess, start with the second or third highest traffic page - but don't worry. As long as you back up ahead of time, anything you "mess up" can be undone!)
The page components you want to test are:
1. Your Headline
Without a doubt, your headline is the most important component of your web page. It's the first thing your visitor will see when landing on your site. It will either compel him to continue reading, or convince him he's at the wrong page.
And the best part is, it's super easy to test. You don't need to get your graphic artist involved, or even your copywriter. You can easily craft a few benefits-laden headlines to test on your own. I suggest writing at least four different headlines and designing an A/B test to verify the effectiveness of each.
2. Your Opening Paragraph
Just as in offline direct mail marketing, the opening paragraph of your web page sales letter must pull the reader into your copy and make him want to read more.
Because many small business owners have a harder time writing opening paragraphs than headlines, you might want to get your copywriter involved in this one. But again, a simple A/B test can be used to measure the effectiveness of each paragraph.
3. Your Call to Action
There are dozens of different ways to spell out to your reader exactly what you want him to do. And depending on your product, your niche, your audience, etc, some will definitely be more effective than others.
This is one component of your web page that you don't want to leave to chance. Rather than simply copying what other marketers are doing, choose several different calls to action and test them each against each other.
4. Your Product Benefits
Your sales copy will be most effective when you list the most important benefit first. But Wait!! Your prospect might have a different opinion of which is the most important benefit.
Try varying the order of your benefit statements to test which positioning converts at the highest rate. This could also provide some valuable insight into rewriting your entire sales letter for higher conversions - or writing the sales letter for your next product.
5. Your Graphics and Visual Elements
They say a picture is worth a thousand words - but what is the wrong picture worth? Some colors, graphics and photographs can actually hurt your conversion rate. Some can provide a so-so conversion rate. While others can have your conversion rate soaring through the roof.
The only way you'll know for sure that you're using the right visual elements is to test. A multivariate test will allow you to test several different elements simultaneously to ensure you have the right combination.
Once these initial tests are done, it will be time to move on to more tests. Never rest on your laurels and never assume that your conversion rate is as good as it could possibly be. There will always be room for improvement - and room for more testing.
About the Author: Karen Scharf is an Indianapolis marketing consultant who works with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She offers several whitepapers, free reports and checklists, including her free Can-Spam checklist and free email pre-flight checklist to ensure your emails get delivered, get opened and get read