A while ago, our CEO was interviewed by the wildly successful podcaster John Lee Dumas for his show Entrepreneur on Fire. During the interview, we agreed to help John with his lead generation efforts.
Since then we’ve been working on incrementally improving the opt-in conversions on eofire.com, using the Thrive Leads plugin.
In this case study you’ll discover the step by step process we followed, which led to a 268% improvement in opt-in conversion rates.
You’ll see what worked (and what didn’t) and our take on why we got these results.
First Step: Get The Control In Place
To make sure our test led to actual improvements, we first needed to get a control in place. There were already opt-in forms showing on the Eofire site, so when we switched to Thrive Leads, we created a clone of the opt-in form we were going to test.
This control we created looked exactly like the previous form, showed on the same pages and had the same trigger. Specifically, it was triggered on exit intent. This means that it never showed for mobile users because the trigger is based the movement of the mouse pointer.
The conversion rate on this lightbox was 2.09%, which became our “score to beat” for this test.
Don’t Exclude Mobile Users
The very first test we ran was to use the exact same design, but with the SmartExit feature in Thrive Leads activated. This will trigger the lightbox on exit intent for desktop users but will trigger after a certain time for mobile users.
Instead of ignoring the mobile visitors, we made sure they also saw the opt-in offer.
By simply showing the opt-in offer to mobile users, we increased conversions by 58%!
Get a Micro Commitment First
Without changing anything else about the trigger or on the animation, we decided to add a multiple choice opt-in form.
When somebody wants to leave the site on desktop (or after a certain time on mobile), they are presented with a yes/no choice in the lightbox. If they click on “yes”, the opt-in form is shown.
This allows the visitors to first answer a question (something the brain loves to do) before being asked to enter their information. When you click on the button, you confirm that you do indeed want the thing that was advertised. And that click is a small commitment.
Having made that micro commitment, you are then more likely to fill out an opt-in form when presented with one.
Adding this extra step increased conversion again and now this opt-in form is already converting 81.34% better than the control.
From this first test we learned that it’s a big mistake to ignore mobile visitors and to respect the power of micro commitments.
Here’s the full test data:
The Right Timing
Up until now, we only tested (smart) exit intent triggers. It’s time to test if this is indeed the most efficient way to convert visitors into subscribers.
We decided to test the same two-step lightbox with different triggers:
- The control = SmartExit
- Showing the lightbox immediately on page load
- Showing the lightbox after 10 seconds
Here’s the raw test data:
To be clear: the exact same opt-in form is being shown in each instance. It’s only the timing/trigger that we’re testing here.
Here’s an overview of how different triggers affected the conversion rate:
The test shows that both showing the lightbox after a delay or showing it instantly on page load are significantly more effective at converting visitors into subscribers than the exit intent trigger is. In this case, showing the lightbox immediately on page load led to the highest conversion rate.
Having a lightbox shown immediately on page load might be annoying and you might choose not to use this on your website (it’s totally up to you), but this test shows that in terms of conversion rates, it can make a positive difference.
Changing the trigger from exit intent to immediately on page load got us to a 4.79% conversion rate
Have Some Fun With Animations
Now that we’ve seen a big improvement in conversion rates, it’s time to tweak the opt-in form a little bit. We wanted to see if the entry animation of the opt-in form would make a difference.
- Zoom in (the control)
- Zoom out
And we saw some interesting results indeed.
One word of caution about this test. This typically is the kind of test we do not want you to start out with. Often this kind of tweaking does not give any significant results, that’s why we advise to test big changes first.
On the EOFire website (due to the high amounts of traffic) we knew that even if the results were inconclusive we wouldn’t lose a lot of time waiting for results.
The rotational animation got a 4.99% conversion rate and beat the zoom in and zoom out animations.
After running this 3 tests we went from a 2.09% conversion rate to a 4.99% conversion. That’s a whopping 238% improvement.
But why stop there, right? After doing a special opt-in campaign for John’s book The Freedom Journal we continued the tests and got even more amazing results.
What Opt-in Offer Is Most Appealing?
The previous tests were all run with the same opt-in offer, the 12 resources for entrepreneurs. But John has more than one opt-in offer on his website.
Because testing big things gives the best chances of improvement, we decided to start a new test and see which one of the 5 opt-in offers would get the highest opt-in rates.
- Top 12 Resources PDF (control)
- $500 and 7 days ebook
- 11 habits of successful entrepreneur PDF
- Podcast Course
- Webinar Course
To make sure that the design didn’t influence on the conversion rate, we kept all opt-in forms the same and only changed the copy.
From this test, we discovered that the most appealing opt-in offer for the EOFire audience was the 500$ and 7 days ebook.
This offer converted at 5.66%
But not only is it interesting to see that this opt-in offer is outperforming the original one, we can also learn a lot from the underperforming opt-in offers.
One might have thought the “11 habits of successful entrepreneurs” would have been a compelling opt-in offer to the EOFire audience but it is clearly a lot less effective at converting visitors into subscribers that the "12 resources" or the "$500 ebook".
The podcast mini course and the webinar mini course also converted less, which is not as surprising as those offers have more of a niche appeal.
Think about this: John already had a more effective opt-in offer than the one he had been advertising for a long time. This just shows how important testing is.
Switching this made conversion go from 4.99% to 5.6% which might seem like a small improvement but for a website like EOFire this is literally hundreds of more subscribers per month.
The current state of testing on the EOFire website allowed us to help John go from a 2.09% conversion rate to a 5.6% conversion rate.
This is a 268% improvement.To make that more practical, on a site that gets 1,000 visitors a day, this improvements means going from 8,000 leads generated in one year to over 20,000 leads per year!
But this did not happen in just a single test - and not every variation we tested outperformed the control. Each test helped us to improve a little bit and to discover what works and what doesn’t.
As much of a cliché as it is, Rome really wasn’t built in a day and I hope that from this case study, you can see how continual, incremental improvements really pay off over time.
As always with case studies, if you simply copy the exact same things that worked in this example, you may or may not get good results. The “trick” to getting excellent conversion improvements like the ones presented here doesn’t lie in a specific tactic or that perfect opt-in form template. The trick is to turn A/B testing into a habit.
Now it’s Your Turn
Unlock the bonus PDF: 10 Things You Should A/B Test To Get Higher Conversion Rates On Your Opt-in Forms.
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And start testing.
What was your takeaway from this case study? Let me know in the comments below!