Going Beyond the Page: 5 Ways to Take Your Conversion Rates to the Next Level

In a previous post, we presented the Big 3 conversion killers that emerged when we analyzed more than 200 opt-in forms and landing pages sent in by our readers.

Today, we're going to take a look at 5 more examples and take the conversion optimization tips to the next level.

What do I mean by that?

In this post, we go beyond the landing page.​

More...

3 Things We Won't Do

This clinic is a bit different. Specifically, here are some things that can make for good before/after examples that we won't be doing:​

  • We won't make cosmetic-only changes. No taking a landing page or opt-in form and simply making it look nicer.
  • We won't be making small changes. Instead, we'll be looking for "big levers" - changes that have the potential to make a big difference.
  • We won't keep everything quick and easy. Quick and easy examples can be great, but in this post, we'll dive a bit deeper.

Sound good? Here we go:


Example 1: Place Your Best Offer in the Spotlight

The first example comes from this site about Forex copy trading. Our candidate for treatment is the large opt-in form shown on the homepage.

There are two problems with this offer that become apparent immediately. The first is the amount space the design occupies:

The image above represents what the homepage looks like on a large screen. Even on a full sized screen, the button is not entirely visible above the fold.

More importantly, a lot of space is being occupied needlessly. With just minor modifications, everything in this form could easily fit above the fold. The heading and image could be smaller, the form fields could be smaller and so on.

The second issue becomes apparent once you scroll down the page:

As you can see, the opt-in offer is immediately followed by a different call to action. This creates a conflict of calls to action. For the visitor, it's unclear which is the better choice. Someone may be on the verge of opting in when they see the second offer and change their mind.

Now, we could use these observations and some more nitpicking (no question marks at the end of questions?) and create a treatment based on that.

But we're not going to do that.

For today's post, we will go further in our deconstruction of the example.

Deconstruction of the Copy Trading Offer

​Copy trading is the practice of finding someone else who's successful at trading (foreign exchange markets, in this case) and then simply copying all the buying and selling they do.

The very premise of the website attracts a certain person. In addition, the domain of the site is one that attracts a beginner: howtocopytradeforex.com

The market for this type of product revolves around people who don’t want to spend hours doing research or digging for information. They want the best information, the quickest way possible.​

With that, we arrive at our hypothesis:​

Hypothesis

Visitors to this site want quick, actionable information on everything they need to know to start copy trading. They want to do so quickly, efficiently and while reducing their risk of losing money.

Example 1 - Treatment

With this hypothesis in mind, we come to the conclusion that the greatest weakness of this opt-in offer is not the design or the copy, but the offer itself.

The greatest opportunity for increasing conversion is to make an offer that is more appealing to the target audience.​

Interestingly, such an offer is already present on this website, but you have to scroll all the way down the homepage to find it. The offer is for a "Copy Trading Starter Kit", which is much more in line with what the target audience is looking for (according to our hypothesis).

Here's what the updated homepage could look like:​

The main changes for this treatment are:

  • ​We communicate an offer that is about getting started (for beginners) and getting results quickly.
  • The ebook graphic is brought in line with the text describing the offer.
  • We use a 2-step opt-in to save space above the fold.
  • We remove the second call to action after the opt-in form.

After the Opt-In

Although we've presented a treatment for the opt-in form, we're not done with this example yet.

Getting new leads is vitally important for most businesses, but what happens after someone signs up is just as important. In this case, we couldn't help but notice that what happens after the opt-in is bound to leave subscribers confused:

Immediately after opting in, the subscriber is sent to a sales page. There's no confirmation that the opt-in was successful and no clue about what to do next.

What's worse, the product being offered on the sales page seems very similar to the free guide the subscriber just signed up for. It too, seems to be aimed at a complete beginner and promises to give many of the same answers one would expect to find in the free guide.​

This makes the impression of being some marketing-guru tactic for instantly monetizing your new leads. Even if you wish to drive subscribers towards a sales conversion as quickly as possible, keep in mind: causing confusion among your visitors and prospects is a very costly mistake.


Example 2: Know Your Target Audience

Our next candidate is a landing page on the Simple Success Plans website:

On this page, there's a main headline followed by a sub-heading. Both of them use very large text and they have almost equal weight on the page.

Unfortunately, the two headings seem to be talking to two completely different crowds:

  1. "Organize your entire business" in the first heading implies that the offer is for someone who already has an established business.
  2. "Plan your dream business" in the second heading implies that the offer is for someone who hasn't started creating a business yet.​

The rest of the text in the bullet points and testimonial don't help to clarify this problem. Some of the points are clearly made for people with established businesses, others could apply to someone just starting out.

The big problem with trying to appeal to two completely different groups of people is that you end up appealing to neither of them. The owner of an established business doesn't want to waste time on a newbie guide for planning a new business. The beginner has no use for an organization plan for a business that doesn't exist yet.​

Deconstruction of the Simple Success Plans Page

To find out how to make this offer more targeted and more appealing, we took a closer look at the rest of the website. We found that:

  • The messaging on the homepage is focused around growing existing, established businesses.
  • The testimonials shown are by people who already had a business and achieved better growth after working with the Simple Success Plans company.
  • The blog posts, while less focused, also appeal to owners of existing businesses and hint towards topics such as struggling with overwhelm and organizational chaos.

The blog posts and especially the testimonials allowed us to form a better picture of who the ideal prospect for this website might be.

Hypothesis

The ideal prospect is someone who has an established business and who has suffered from the side effects of their business growing. The business owner is used to "winging it", but this is no longer working very well. They are constantly running in every direction to put out fires and they haven't taken a vacation in a long time. The business is successful, but not successful enough to allow for extensive hiring and delegation.

Example 2 - Treatment

With a clearer idea of what the ideal prospect might look like, we've created a new version of the landing page:​

The main changes for this treatment are:

  • The main heading is changed to appeal to the busy and overwhelmed, by promising a simple and quick solution (overworked business owners are very careful about where they spend their time).
  • Copy in the headings and bullet points changed to have more of an emotional appeal with phrases like "feel less overwhelmed" and "finally take that vacation".
  • Testimonial design changed to be a better match for the rest of the page and to make it look less cluttered.

Most importantly, the message of the entire page has been changed to appeal to a single, very specific target audience. There is no more ambiguity and it's clear that this is not for a beginner who's just starting to plan a business.


Example 3: Hone in on the Most Powerful Words

The next example comes from the VertShocked website. This is an affiliate review website for a product about training and improving vertical leap (which is primarily interesting for basketball players).

This is what the landing page for the main opt-in offer on this site looks like:

What this page does well is simplicity. The page is not overloaded or cluttered and there's just one single, clear call to action.

A problem on this page is that the copy is weak. For starters, the visitor must know about the Vert Shock product to make any sense of the page. But even if a visitor knows of the product, "what will it do for me?" is probably not the most burning question they have.​

Deconstruction of the VertShocked Offer

To gain insights, we scoured the VertShocked website and paid special attention to the most shared blog posts and the comments readers left on various posts.

Here are the conclusions we came to:

  • The biggest draw of the site is that an "average" white guy followed the program and ended up being able jump high enough for dunking.
  • A big question that comes up is: "will this work for someone of my height?"
  • Another question that comes up is: "does this require a gym membership?"
  • The reason why people are interested in buying this program comes down to one thing:​ they want to be able to dunk.

Considering this, the word "dunk" is rather underused on the landing page and on the site in general.

Hypothesis

The #1 appeal on this website is about dunking. If we can convince visitors that someone can learn how to dunk, even if they are not particularly tall or athletic, we have their attention. Everything else is secondary.

Example 3 - Treatment

Here's what our treatment page looks like:

The main changes for this treatment are:

  • The heading and bullet points emphasize that this is about learning how to dunk and address the objection: "what if I'm not tall?"
  • The title on the ebook image is updated to emphasize dunking as well.
  • Other benefits that come from following the program are mentioned as a secondary bullet point.

Use Surprise to Your Advantage

Looking through the site, we noticed an opportunity that could be taken advantage of. There's a factor of surprise in seeing an average height guy dunk.

Surprise is something that grab attention and it's also highly shareable. There's an opportunity to use this surprise factor for the site's marketing. For example, instead of an ebook image, an image that arouses surprise and curiosity could be used instead. Here's a sketch:​

Of course, this only works if it's an amateurish looking photograph of real people and if there's proof (e.g. a video) that follows.

Since Andy, the owner of the VertShocked website, has already built the site around himself and his personal story, this would definitely work for him.​


Example 4: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

The next example is an opt-in form used on the MyCreditDoc website:

The form uses the TypeFocus feature to rotate through three questions:

  • Do you want to eliminate your debt?
  • Do you want to stop harassing collector calls?
  • Do you want to improve your credit?

Offering several choices and letting your visitors self-segment can be a great strategy, but in this case, there's an issue with redundancy. The questions asked in the text above the buttons communicate the exact same thing as the button texts.

Another possible issue is that these are very broad topics. "Improve your credit" can mean many things for many different people and it's too generic to have a very strong appeal.​

Deconstruction of the MyCreditDoc Offer

As with the other examples, we took a closer look at the website and its pages and blog posts to get a better sense of context for the opt-in form we're aiming to improve.

The homepage also has this "3 track" setup, advertising the site as a resource of stopping collector calls, eliminating debt and/or improving your credit score.

We used ahrefs to do a spot of keyword research on these topics and found this:​

The interesting column here is KD, which is ahrefs' rating of how difficult or competitive a keyword is.

As you can see, search volume for the "stop collector calls" keywords is low, but so is the keyword difficulty.

From an SEO perspective, you can be pretty sure that a page will never rank for all three keywords that are being targeted. Going for the rarer but easier "stop collector calls" keywords could be a good strategy.​

Hypothesis

The opt-in form (and to some extent also the rest of the site) is trying to do too much by offering three generic solutions to broad problems. Conversions could be improved by making one offer with a more specific and emotionally appealing benefit.

Treatments

Here's what the initial state of the opt-in form could look like:

Improvements made in this treatment:

  • Moved to offering a simple, clear choice instead of an ambiguous choice.
  • Changed to focus on the offer that has the most emotional appeal (receiving creditor calls is deeply uncomfortable and visitors will be motivated to take action).

The website and the services offered can still go beyond just ending collector calls. The other options can be put in a follow-up campaign for new leads. This makes sense in this particular case because the three services offered follow a logical sequence. Once you've put an end to the collector calls, the next step is to work on eliminating debt. And once you're making progress on that, the next step is to work on improving your credit score.


Example 5: Play to Your Strengths

Our final example comes from Tomas Michaud's site about learning to play the guitar. Tomas was already featured in one of the first opt-in form clinics we ever did and it's great to see how his site has developed since.

This is the main opt-in form used on the site's blog:

As you can see, this is a multi-step opt-in form. When you click on the button, this is what shows next:

This is quite a competent opt-in form, but of course I can still nitpick away at it (nitpicking is one of my specialties). For example:

  • The body text's readability could be improved by using a darker shade of grey, to create more contrast to the background.
  • It's questionable whether "playing perfect bar chords" are a burning issue for the typical visitor to this site.

But once again, we didn't settle for the nitpicking and went about investigating the site and business instead.

Deconstruction of Tomas Michaud's Offer

Tomas does a lot of work with video. He has a YouTube channel with over 30,000 subscribers, he offers video based online courses and in one of his videos he even mentions that learning guitar from a book is not as effective as learning in person or through video.

In light of that, offering a PDF to gain new leads might not be ideal.

Hypothesis

By offering a free video or video mini-course instead of a PDF, Tomas could attract the kind of leads who are more likely to purchase his premium product. The free offer could also be used to give new leads a taste of what the premium course is like and reduce friction for converting to customers.

Treatment

Here's what a new and improved opt-in offer could look like:

Main improvements made in this treatment:

  • We change the headline to lead with a benefit (the end result someone wants, which is more important than the means to get there).
  • We keep the offer about bar chords, since this is the topic of one of the most popular posts on the site.
  • The offer and image are changed to be about a free video course instead of a downloadable PDF.

The most significant change to the offer is not on the level of the opt-in form but on the business level: the treatment suggests having visitors create a free account instead of just opting in.

In other words, we're suggesting to change the business model to a membership with a freemium aspect. The idea here is to reduce friction on the "lead to customer" conversion step. We invite visitors to create a free account, after which they already get access to the member's area and get familiar with the courses and the teaching style.

Except that they only have access to a limited amount of free content.

Once they already have this account and if they like what they see, it's a small step to upgrade to a paid membership in order to unlock all the course content.​

Which Conversion Rate Matters?

It's important to note that in this example, a possible outcome is that the treatment has a lower conversion rate but a higher business value.​

Here's an illustration of what I mean:​

If we think of the conversion flow in two stages - visitor to subscriber and subscriber to customer - we could be losing out on the first conversion but still generate overall greater revenue if we win on the second one.

I May Be Wrong About All of This

All of these examples are purely hypothetical and without testing, we cannot know whether our treatments would actually perform better than the controls they are supposed to improve upon.

The goal of this article isn't about the specific examples, though. Instead, I hope that these examples help expand the way you think about improving your website and uncover opportunities that you haven't seen before.

In summary, the examples here show us that:

  • We shouldn't look at a single opt-in form or landing page in isolation. By looking at the entire context that an offer is made in, we can find new opportunities to increase conversions.
  • What happens after the opt-in can be just as important to your bottom line as the opt-in conversion rate itself.
  • We can examine highly shared posts (using BuzzSumo) and most commented posts to gain more insights into what the audience responds well to.
  • We can do some basic keyword research to gain more information about how to position an offer, landing page or value proposition of a business.
  • We can read comments and testimonials to learn what words and phrases resonate with the audience and then use those in our copy.
  • Sometimes, we should step back and examine the entire business model instead of only having the zoomed-in view of looking at a single page or single offer.

Most of the examples in this post are so specific that they won't carry over to your business. However, the principles behind the changes we suggest and the way we arrived at our hypotheses do carry over and they are powerful tools for you to use. 

Over to You

What was your favorite example from this post? What will you try out in a test on your own site? What other ideas do you have for improving these offers?

Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Also, let us know if you like this post and would like to see more in-depth analysis of this kind, in the future!

Shane

Author: Shane Melaugh

Shane Melaugh is a co-founder of Thrive Themes. When he isn't plotting new ways to create awesome WordPress themes & plugins, he likes to geek out about camera equipment and medieval swords. He also writes about productivity here.

  • Raj says:

    Great piece of content, thanks Shane.

  • Mary Jaksch says:

    Excellent article!

    I’ve just switched my site, WritetoDone.com to the Performag theme and am about to focus on the next step which is to optimize conversions. So this post has come just at the right moment.

    A lot of your comments revolve around ‘know your audience’, Shane. And it’s not so easy to know your audience *exactly*!

    What I found very useful is doing a ‘deep dive’ survey according to Ryan Levesque’s book, ASK. Apart from being able to understand the verticles of my audience, I’ve also been able to copy the messaging my audience used in the survey.

    I mean, we can imagine what the pain points are for our audience, but actually knowing how they express their challenges is much more powerful.

    Translated into creating forms that convert, truly knowing our audience gives us the chance to create forms that resonate with our readers.

    You’ve set a high bar, here, Shane. I’m going to study this very carefully and then put it into action.

    However, I’ve taken to heart your mantra, SHIP, TEST, IMPROVE. So I won’t be waiting to get everything perfect before I create my forms. 🙂

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thank you for your comment, Mary!

      Indeed, there is much to be said about really getting to know your audience. I’m sure we’ll post more about that in the future.

      “Ship, test, improve” should indeed be my mantra. I’m not sure I’ve ever said it as concisely as that. I really like it! 🙂

  • Really nice and instructive, i would reach the moment i have to improve my conversion, I’m still struggling get visitors to the opt-in forms

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks for your comment, Marcel!

      To get more people to your opt-in forms, the best resource we have available right now are these two posts about Facebook ads.

  • Bob B says:

    Thought provoking as usual Shane. You challenge me to reexamine everything about me site. My site is a membership site so my home page reliefteaching.com is the jump off point for different levels of s2 members and visitors. It’s functional rather than pretty with big clunky buttons. The visitor proceeds to a more welcoming regime of pages but the visitor jumps to their own home page with a range of access options. I love this analysis and am using ovation to incorporate more testimonials. I think I might need LEADS to improve my sign up rate. Love your work and this analysis is really thought provoking.

  • Stinus says:

    Great article, thanks for sharing! Especially like the copy change in example 3.

  • Graeme T says:

    This is one great post. Learned heaps – thanks!!

  • Brian says:

    Bookmarked. One of the most useful marketing posts I have read in a while. Seeing the before and after really helped. Copy should be talked about more in IM posts so I really liked this

  • Macy says:

    Made it through and loved the examples! I’m getting ready to start a new opt in and will keep this all in mind.

  • Onuora Amobi says:

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. The stuff you do with real life examples is always awesome.

    It’s crazy what difference a little tweaking to text can make.

  • Ravi Chahar says:

    Hey Shane,

    To improve the conversion rate, it’s really important to place your products to the right place.

    You may provide any free guide, but it should be on the spotting place. I like the idea of putting it below the opt-in box.

    And not spreading to ourselves thin is really needed.

    Thanks for the guide.
    ~Ravi

  • Stephen says:

    Shane,

    I’m impressed! And, learned a lot! I’m now looking to find these optin forms to try out these products! 🙂

    I especially appreciated the deconstruction of the Guitar offer as my business is in the Musicianship training field.

    I appreciate your useful posts.

    All the Best,
    Stephen

  • Anna says:

    I learned a lot and incorporated your ideas into my site at https://neuroplan.ca. Thanks Shane.

  • Lirone says:

    Hi ! I propose to my audience a free course of 10 lessons about a specific topic and so far on my opt-in form I write to them the what they are a going to learn across these 10 lessons. Is it a good idea ? Or It’s better to write less (just the headline and the purpose of this book) ?
    Because for now I have 10 bullets points which mention what they are going to learn.
    Thank you and thank you for the great content ! 🙂

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Hi Lirone,

      10 bullet points could be a bit overwhelming, yes. Plus, if you try to list everything, you’re in danger of listing features, but forgetting the benefits (i.e. you tell the visitor what they will get, but not why it matters or what it will do for them).

      However, just like with the examples in this post, the only way to really find out what works best is to test. 🙂

  • Michael M says:

    Excellent analysis and tweaking, Shane. Especially example #5. Everyone uses the same notes, but you made them really sing.

  • Ntathu Allen says:

    I love the indepth analysis and way you broke down the whole process from “opt-in” to looking at the whole business structure and how 1 part affects the other. Yes, definitely interested in receiving more in-depth analysis. Thank you.

  • Mark says:

    Shane, this is such a useful exercise and you’ve made some brilliant observations and points. We can all get so “close” to the business we are working on we don’t step back and look at things from the visitor / customer / client perspective.

    Every opt-in you’ve looked at here not only now makes more sense and has a compelling reason for taking action – they all look far better too, which of course helps too.

    Of particular relevance and importance is the next step – i.e. the follow up – and I’d be very interested to see your take on this at some point. i.e. we’ve got the opt-in – now what. My guess is there’ll be some inconsistencies to deal with!

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks for your comment, Mark!

      What happens after the opt-in and in the rest of the funnel is a topic worthy of its own post for sure.

  • Michelle W says:

    Those were great illustrations, Shane. I’m a visual person, so I could see the benefit of the changes. This was like ‘a home make-over’ for landing pages. Loved it!

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks, Michelle!

      Your home makeover analogy shows me that I missed out on a good headline opportunity, here. 😀

  • Shane Melaugh says:

    Thanks, Scott!

  • Shane, the steps you take here appeal to my science-mind, which means things are laid out clearly. Clarity is a big part of my problems in marketing as I am a jack-of-all-trades guy and it is most difficult to “pick a single niche and be an expert at it” – and your process here helps me with that a lot. Thanks!

  • Manú says:

    Hola Shane! Revisando mi landing page hay muchas cosas que corregir para optimizar y sea una pagina realmente de Ventas

  • Susan H says:

    Shane, I love all of your information. But I need more help! How much would it cost for you to create a few opt-in forms for my website (…. please say you do this for people???!) Thanks again for sharing your wealth of knowledge.

  • Great to know, cool examples, hard to implement! Very very interesting..however.

  • What a great article. I love the way you take us through typical opt-in offers step by step, explain what’s wrong, and then present far improved alternatives. Knowing how to analyse and assess an opt-in form with a critical eye is so useful, whether it’s for own own website or for the benefit of clients. All great tips, but I shall definitely be reading more testimonials and comments to find those words that resonate with the target audience. Thanks, Shane.

  • Johan C says:

    These examples are perhaps purely hypothetical and without testing… But I bed if tested they would give great outcomes. I am convinced 🙂

  • Maros B says:

    Great article, and as usually people need really good copywriter/marketer help to get their copy right.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Hello Maros,

      I think decent copywriting is something almost anyone can get the hang of. If you truly understand your target market and you practice seeing your copy through their eyes, that’s 90% of the work done. 🙂

  • Sam Lyons says:

    I have really enjoyed your ideas on these optin form offers, especially the guitar lesson one. I also have a guitar lesson site for beginner guitarists. Would you please take a look at my homepage and tell me what you think I should do to make it more effective. My url:
    http://www.bestbeginnerguitarlessons.com

  • Kate Simpson says:

    Shane, don’t you consider minor visual changes at all?

  • vseo says:

    very usefull post, im new on internet marketing and alway glad to learn somethins new that increase my knowledge, thankyou shane for your article

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