The panels at PubCon were all very informational, but one particular session on landing page optimization stood out to me because of how much fun the panelists and audience. If you were there you inevitably remember.
Kate Morris, Marketing Demon
To lay a foundation for further discussion on landing pages, Kate talked about a lot of the basics of landing page optimization. She talked about generous use of whitespace and making sure that your landing page is a clear roadmap showing the user exactly where they want to go (hint: the call-to-action). Tracking was discussed because if you’re not tracking how are you going to know if your landing page optimization efforts are even working? Lastly, she mentioned some ballpark figures on bounce rates. I didn’t get all the ranges but under 30% is freakin’ amazing and over 90% is B-A-D bad.
Brad Geddes, bg Theory
Building on Kate’s preso, Brad jumped in by answering the question “Where should I test first?” The answer is to test the pages with the most views because these represent both the largest opportunity and the areas where you will be able to achieve valid results the fastest. He also emphasized that you should test, test, test while remembering that landing pages need to match up with intent. If the users intent is to get more information, give them more information. Don’t tell them about your discount for purchasing a full year subscription.
Joanna Lord, YourJobStop.com
If you’re testing a lot like Brad recommended you’ll inevitably be creating more than a few different landing pages. Follow Joanna’s advice and make your life a little simple by utilizing templates and a CMS for landing page creation. This will save you time and effort as you iterate because the branding and social components of the page (and yes, your landing pages should be addressing the branding and social angles) will tend to be consistent while you test the other elements of the page. Joanna also recommends you go Full Monte on your testing by utilizing multivariate testing (MVT).
Lastly, test HOW you are presenting your information on landing pages. See how visual/graphic presentation performs against standard text. Perhaps rich media formats can give you a boost over standard media? Don’t limit your self to testing one graphic over another of three versions of the headline.
Tim Ash, SiteTuners.com
For those of you who may not be familiar with the topic of landing page optimization, Tim Ash literally wrote the book. It’s titled Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions. For this panel though, Tim pointed out 5 tools to improve your landing page optimization efforts:
- CrazyEgg & ClickTale – Both provide in-page analytics to help you know more about what users are actually doing on your pages. I use ClickTale and love watching the little videos of people navigating the site. I’m constantly surprised by what people pay attention to, what they click, what they ignore, etc.
- Usertesting.com – these guys do online usability testing. You want to see how “real” people use your site? This will show you both sides of the screen.
- CrossBrowserTesting – Ever wondered how your site looks on a machine running Windows 2000 and IE 6? Quit wondering and test it. This service has virtually every combination of OS and browser you can imagine.
- AttentionWizard.com – This service will give you a heatmap of a page (or mockup) so you can see what draws people’s attention. You may think you already know, but this way you will know for sure.
So What Was So Fun About This Panel?
Admittedly, it was pretty tame during presentations, but once the Q&A got rolling it was on. The catalyst was a difference of opinion between the guys (conveniently positioned on one site of the podium) and the gals (on the other side). Tim said he felt like saying “Jane, you ignorant slut” to the ladies (a reference from SNL) but feared they might not get the reference. Joanna then seemed to intone that the guys were old. I apologize that my rendition doesn’t truly capture the interaction, but it was hilarious. My thanks to all the panelists for a great time and great info.