The Big 3 Conversion Killers We Found (by Analyzing 200+ Opt-In Forms & Landing Pages)
In this post, you’ll discover the "Big 3 Conversion Killers" - the top mistakes that plague opt-in forms and landing pages and doom them to failure.
We uncovered the Big 3 by analyzing over 200 websites sent in by Thrive Themes readers and customers. That means that if you have a website, chances are that you’re making at least one of these 3 mistakes - and fixing them will boost your conversion rates.
Conversion Killer 1:
More Emails, Anyone?
Turning visitors into email subscribers is the number one goal on many websites. And for good reason: email subscribers are highly engaged and getting permission to send emails is the perfect first step for creating loyal fans and customers.
But here’s the problem: no one wants to be on yet another mailing list.
Think about your inbox. I bet you’re already getting too many damn newsletters AND those newsletters are generally your least favorite emails. Your website visitors feel the exact same way.
So if you show them an opt-in offer like this:
Their reaction will be:
Now, I know what you’re saying: "but Shane, my newsletter is awesome. I don’t spam people with nonsense, like most of those newsletters I get in my inbox."
Sure, but your visitors don’t know that.
If you want to get email subscribers, there’s no way around a proper value exchange. You get something you want (the email address and permission to send), so you have to offer something your visitors want, in return.
Remember this: it’s always a value exchange.
Here, let me demonstrate…
If you have any kind of “subscribe to our newsletter” thing going on on your website right now, then you aren’t getting many subscribers. Getting more subscribers is something you want. And creating a great opt-in offer is what you need to do, in order to get what you want.
Now, I'm going to give you a step-by-step guide for creating the perfect, conversion boosting opt-in offer in no time at all. And all you have to do to get it is click this link... and opt-in.
Being a Thrive Themes subscriber is awesome. We send out great, action-packed content pieces on a regular basis. We’re never annoying or spammy. We’re incredibly attractive (just like our subscribers).
And yet, I’m never asking you to “subscribe to our newsletter”. You’ll discover how great our emails are once you subscribe. And you’ll subscribe because on this site, you’ll find relevant, high-value offers in exchange for your email address (just like this one about how to create killer opt-in offers).
Conversion Killer 2:
Do All the Things!
This second conversion killer is just as common as the first one. Sometimes, it's obvious and easy to spot. For example, here:
For the record: no, this is not photoshopped. This is an actual screenshot from an actual website.
The problem is overwhelmingly obvious. On this single page, the visitor is being asked to:
- Sign up to get an opt-in offer.
- Sign up in a separate slide-in to "join my newsletter".
- Use one of 5 sharing buttons to share the post.
- Like something on Facebook (in a ribbon that's separate from the already existing social buttons).
The problem can be summarized as "CTA overload": there are too many calls to action and the visitor's attention is being pulled in too many different directions.
In our analysis, we encountered two different flavors of the CTA overload problem:
- There are too many calls to action distracting from the main goal of the page (e.g. share buttons all over a page where the main goal is to get the visitor to make a purchase).
- On an opt-in landing page, an call to action for a completely different opt-in offer is shown in a ribbon, overlay or slide-in (see example below).
You can fix this in two simple steps. Take a look at any landing page on your site and ask yourself:
1) How many actions are possible on this page?
Apart from leaving the website, how many things can the visitor do, here? Possible actions include:
- Clicking on links, buttons or navigation menu items.
- Making a purchase or moving towards the next step in a checkout flow.
- Clicking on social share buttons.
- Clicking on social follow buttons.
- Clicking a "play" button on a video or other media player.
- Filling out form fields.
- Leaving a comment.
- Answering a quiz or poll question.
The more actions are possible on your landing page, the more confusing and less focused it is.
2) Are the priorities on this page clear?
If more than one action is possible on the page, are the priorities clear? Is the main conversion goal clearly highlighted as the most noticeable, most important thing on the page? Or is it being crowded out by other elements?
What we're looking for here is called "visual hierarchy" and it's a cornerstone of conversion focused design. To learn more about visual hierarchy and see examples applied to button design, check out this tutorial.
Example & Treatment
Here's an example of a landing page suffering from a relatively mild case of CTA overload:
This isn't too bad. But important elements like the heading and the image are drowned out by the size of the footer and the many links therein. The visual hierarchy on the page is meek and many actions are possible, so there's a lot of potential distraction on the page.
Here's my suggested treatment:
I removed all the additional links from the header and footer. This narrows the focus of the page and keeps the visitor's attention honed in on what really matters. It also saves space, which gives me the freedom to use a larger header font (and that improves visual hierarchy). It also gives the entire page a bit more room to breathe - makes it less busy and overwhelming.
Conversion Killer 3:
Read Me if You Can
The best copy in the world is completely pointless if no one can read it.
In a similar vein, the more difficult it is for your visitors to read text on your site, the less likely they are going to even try.
We've seen two manifestations of this problem in the examples we analyzed:
1) Poor Choice of Colors and Contrast
Here's what you need to know about text colors and contrast:
Light text on dark backgrounds is difficult to read, because it strains the eyes. For short sections, it's fine, but don't force your visitors to read large blocks of text like this.
Grey or light text on light backgrounds is also difficult to read, especially for those who don't have perfect eyesight. It may look cool, but it's not very readable.
Avoid color combinations that create an unpleasant, strong contrast against each other. It strains the eyes and lowers readability.
This concerns any text on your site and on colored backgrounds. An even more common problem is caused by background images, which brings me to the second problem:
2) Background Image with Poor Contrast to Text
When you use a photograph as a background image and overlay text, it can be quite tricky to make both the photograph visible and the text readable.
Here's an example and treatment for this problem:
Because parts of the image are bright and parts are dark, the text is hard to read, no matter what color we choose for it. A wide range of brightness in different areas is quite typical of photographs, so this is a common problem. The easiest way to handle it is to add a dark overlay to the image:
We've simply added a layer of black, at 50% opacity. The image is still clearly visible, but now the text is crisp and easy to read. A huge improvement!
If you use Thrive Architect to edit your content and build your pages, you can create this overlay effect without needing Photoshop or any other editing tools! Check out this tutorial to learn more about how to create the perfect background image for text.
Your Roadmap to “Ahead of the Curve”
As you saw from the examples we posted here, these "Big 3" conversion killers are extremely common. Luckily, all of them are very easy to spot and also easy to fix.
That means that with this post, you have a roadmap to ensure that any opt-in offer or landing page you create from now on is already ahead of the curve from where most of your competitors are at.
Check your site for these 3 issues right now and make it a priority to fix them. You’ll be amazed at how big of a difference it can make to the user experience of your visitors - and to the conversion rates on your site.
And you don't even have to take our word for it: you can use Thrive Leads (for opt-in forms) and Thrive Optimize (for landing pages) to run A/B tests and see if these fixes really boost your conversion rates.
P.S.: If you spotted a screenshot from your site among our examples (we couldn't list all of the suitable ones, but chances are...), try the improvement we suggest in this post and let us know how it goes for you!