AB Testing for Optimizing Conversions
Split testing is a must. But whether it’s the amount of time available or impatience from stakeholders or clients, it often doesn’t go nearly as far as you’d like.
Most of the split testing I see is for one of two elements:

  1. Email and landing page headlines

2. Call to Action text and imagery
It’s true that these two items are immensely important. So much so that small tweaks and tests can lead to increases of 10-20% in click thru rate and conversion (and subsequently all of your other metrics).
But there are so many other opportunities to test and evaluate what works and what doesn’t in your marketing efforts. Here are six underrated but often very effective changes you can test in your campaigns to improve overall results:

  1. Form Field Placement – There are a number of things you can test in a form. The number of form fields, the text of the headline, the text used in the submission button. But one small thing few people think of form field placement and size. Larger form fields, split column fields for name and forms that use less vertical space have all been effective changes on my landing pages, making them look and feel friendlier compared to longer, thin spaced forms. Test yours to see what works best.
  2. Placement of Navigation – Common “best practice” when it comes to navigation is that it should be removed from landing pages with conversion points. If you want someone to fill out a form, take away all potential distractions. But I’ve found that some forms convert better with some or all of the navigation intact. While removal can reduce distractions, it can also create a jarring experience and undermine trust in your site. Test different levels of isolation on your landing pages to see what works best.
  3. Vertical vs. Horizontal Layout – Most landing pages have a two column horizontal layout. Copy on the left. Form on the right. It keeps everything above the fold and highlights your offer cleanly. But consider the use of the full screen with a vertical layout if you’re not seeing the kind of conversions you want. Expand your image, add a video, or bring the text up further to illustrate the value of your offer.
  4. Boxed vs. Open Layout – While your landing page should closely mirror your site’s design, there are opportunities to test new layouts. Boxing in an already open layout will focus attention in some cases and reduce bounce rates. Opening up a boxed layout will add a sense of newness to the page. Sometimes changes to this can backfire though, so be sure to watch the results carefully.
  5. Keyword Bolding in Bullet Points – Most of my landing pages have 3-5 bullet points highlighting key benefits of the offer. However you can take it one step further by highlighting keywords in your bullets with bold lettering, italics, or underlines. Draw attention to the key action phrases in your benefits statements that will drive the conversion. Just by changing which words I bold, I’ve seen increases of 2-5% in conversion rates on already high performing landing pages.
  6. First vs. Second Call to Action – In emails, site copy, or blog posts you may have more than one call to action. Smaller or secondary calls to action like “contact us” or “visit our blog” provide a double blind that makes the main focus appear more exotic and “special”. Experiment with the placement of these secondary CTAs, both before and after the main offer to see which drives the most conversions through the evaluation of your content.

Any single item on a landing page, in an email, or on a site page can be split tested and evaluated for effectiveness. The more actively you do it, the better results you will see. So look outside the standard marketers’ checklist and start testing elements you never would have thought of, because the benefits are almost always significant.