This article by Chris Goward is part of our Blogtober event, which features blog posts written by industry influencers in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Do you have a world-class optimization program? If not, you’re missing out on a lot of leads, and you may be falling behind.
If you’re in a B2B industry, you might think I’m not talking to you. Not so fast! Landing page optimization is just as important for B2B companies as it is for B2C.
Many B2B companies take a passive approach to their landing pages, thinking they only need to provide a form or phone number and buyers will come to them. But in our eight years of optimizing B2B pages, we've found dramatic differences in qualified leads by making some key changes to pages. Optimizing your landing pages can make a big difference in the quantity and quality of leads you get.
Creating optimized landing pages means finding out what motivates the right people to come through the door. That can be a challenge if you don't have the right data at your fingertips. An optimization process delivers that data, along with a likely increase in leads every day.
So, if landing page optimization works, why doesn't every B2B marketer have an effective optimization program? At WiderFunnel, we’ve found through our own research that internal challenges—such as lack of conversion-worthy content, limited internal resources, and a lack of strategy—can stand in the way of effective landing page optimization. But there's good reason to overcome those challenges: Landing pages that aren’t optimized miss out on leads. I’ll show you how with a few real-world case studies.
Magento, the world's leading eCommerce platform, wanted to generate more qualified leads for its Enterprise product. But many visitors arrive on their website to find out more about the open source edition. The company needed to increase quality conversions in their paid product funnel while still serving their loyal open source community.
The company knew conversion optimization strategy was important, but it needed to go deeper—tracking quality conversion rates and lead quality could help it fine-tune its optimization. Through an ongoing series of controlled A/B/n split tests to discover and prove what works best, the new conversion funnel now produces an 88.6% higher conversion rate, and also an improved lead quality.
For example, in one A/B test, we created four new page designs for Magento's "Request a Demo" page. When running an experiment like this, many companies make the mistake of simply testing arbitrary ideas or brainstorming tactics. Instead, companies who use frameworks to analyze their conversion funnels create better hypotheses and end up with much better results, plus insights about their customers.
For this purpose, you can use the LIFT Model hypothesis-generation framework to create better optimization ideas. The LIFT Model shows the six conversion factors that are blocking the lead flow on your website right now: Value Proposition, Clarity, Relevance, Anxiety, Distraction, and Urgency.
This demo conversion funnel for Magento had two steps, with the demo information separated from the standalone form page. Below are a few of the LIFT points our strategists identified on both pages, which may also apply to your website.
[LIFT Analysis of the first page in Magento's Demo Request funnel]
[LIFT Analysis of the second page in Magento's Demo Request funnel]
After running the experiment, we found that the copy changes had a slight improvement, generating 3.8% more leads.
But a much bigger lift in leads came from embedding our redesigned form onto the first page, rather than having two separate pages. Note the difference between the Variation A and B lift below.
There's more to this story. Variation C, where we reduced the number of fields on the form, showed an amazing 79% lift in leads generated!
However, there's a catch: Pure conversion rate is not the only goal.
When we looked into the quality of the leads generated, it turned out that Variation C page was not weeding out the unqualified leads. The sales team was spending too much time in conversations with the wrong people, and the increase in volume simply wasn't worth the increased sales time.
So, after a thorough analysis of the results, we decided to call Variation B the winner of the experiment, since it generated a 32% higher conversion rate of highly qualified leads for the sales team.
Every B2B sales leader is looking for one thing: better leads. When your optimization and A/B testing is set up properly and integrated with Salesforce to track lead quality, you can optimize over the long term to optimize for opportunity value. That’s a big opportunity that not enough B2B companies are taking advantage of.
These kinds of optimizations can work on all types of funnels—even with complex business models. For example, BuildDirect found that its most qualified leads come through sources other than the lead forms on its website. The highest qualified leads were coming through phone calls.
Over a two-year timeframe, BuildDirect has run an optimization program with WiderFunnel to maximize total revenue and redesign their website entirely by using A/B testing. Because phone conversions were so valuable, we set up unique phone numbers attached to the experiment variations to track call conversion rate and quality, as well as online leads and eCommerce transactions. You can find more detail in the optimized site redesign case study.
By looking at revenue impact for each kind of conversion, rather than a single conversion metric, companies can optimize every funnel and every experience a visitor has with the company. Each conversion may have a different value associated with it—a quote request may end up being several times more valuable than a webinar signup, for example. It’s important to have a broad, holistic view of where your best opportunities are coming from so that you can optimize based on your customers’ behavior.
What you should understand from this is that companies need to consider blended conversion rates—not just online forms. Track all lead generation and revenue sources, such as sample requests, demo requests, service inquiries, phone calls, and even newsletter signups. Having a great website with an easy way to contact your organization isn’t enough. And even companies that have decent landing pages are missing out on big gains if those pages aren’t optimized. B2B companies in particular have a lot to get out of landing page optimization.
My advice: Identify your goals, put together an ongoing optimization program, and apply the best optimization frameworks to all of your marketing touchpoints. You'll be amazed at what you learn.
Chris Goward founded WiderFunnel with the belief that digital agencies should prove their value. He’s developed conversion rate optimization programs for clients such as Google, Electronic Arts, ebay, Magento and BuildDirect.com. His book, "You Should Test That," redefines CRO and shows how to create dramatic business improvements. More at widerfunnel.com, youshouldtestthat.com, and @chrisgoward.
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