Lead generation tends to be a key end-goal for A/B testing among ecommerce companies.
Quality leads give you the opportunity to build trust and to take the lead on a journey with you, hopefully ending with them becoming a customer! A/B testing helps you to understand what works to draw in more leads and what doesn’t.
One of the things we always emphasize with A/B testing is to look for tests that have the possibility of giving a significant result. What sorts of things can you look at for lead generation? Here are a few ideas:
When it comes to lead magnets, many websites have taken a sort of “set it and forget it” approach. They establish one lead magnet idea and leave it there. Perhaps they pay attention to the number of leads it is generating, but often this is a periphery activity to running the business.
The thing with this approach is that you could be missing out on some serious opportunities to generate more leads. When you put up one lead magnet and stick with it, you’re assuming that you’ve chosen the precise right offer in the right format, to appeal to a broader base of your target audience.
Switching out your opt-in offer is a more drastic A/B test, but it may have the potential to provide you with significant uplifts in leads. You could test out offering completely different lead magnets, or re-working and changing the format of something you currently have. For example:
- Consider the problems that your target audience has which you can help to solve. Have different lead magnets targeting each issue. Which is more popular?
- Instead of assuming that your audience will be happy to read through a 30-page ebook, consider different formats. Does a large lead magnet put them off? Do more “bite-sized” offers, such as checklists or cheat sheets do better?
The secrets to better-converting lead magnets aren’t really secrets at all: solve a real problem by providing a high-value, unique resource. The way to understand what “value” means to your audience is to build some baseline data (perhaps through surveying) and to test your lead magnets.
When you A/B test, you’re basing that test off a hypothesis. Value proposition plays a key role here, so it’s worth considering how that might change. What is the underlying hypothesis you need to test for your business to be a winner? For example, if your online store sells a new diet supplement, perhaps it is of more value for a visitor to understand why they need it first, rather than going straight in with an offer of 10 percent discount.
It’s also important to understand any variables that might impact your offer. For example, if you’re selling that diet supplement, maybe it’s bigger around the New Year, when many people are setting goals for diet and exercise. Perhaps you have different offers that perform better or worse at different times of the year.
There is little sense in testing smaller changes if you haven’t looked at your overall offer. What if your offer just isn’t cutting it?
Instead of “set and forget” lead magnets, optimize with a “monitor and test” approach. Click To Tweet
The pages people visit the most
A best practice of A/B testing is to make sure that you’re prioritizing the things that really matter. This means you need to delve into your website data and understand; a) which pages people visit the most and b) which pages are your key lead generation pages.
To find your most visited pages, you can check your Google Analytics account. Navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages – this will rank your most visited pages.
Once you know which pages get the most traffic, there are many things you can test on those pages. One question that might seem obvious is, do you have signup forms or your offer advertised on those most-visited pages? If not, does adding a form improve your number of leads generated?
With an understanding of your key pages and the offer/s that generate more leads, you can look at some of the further tests below to optimize for lead generation.
Your headlines, content and visual media
Headlines and visual media are the elements that people notice first about a page. Let’s say you’re looking at a landing page for a webinar or lead magnet giveaway, you need to ensure that you’re conveying key information succinctly via headlines and images at a glance, then giving more detail with further content.
It’s important that the main elements which frame your lead generating opportunity are focused on first. For example, here are some ideas you can test:
- Image vs. no image, or image vs. a different image. Intuitively, people think that having an image will always improve conversions, but this isn’t always the case.
- Headline content and style. Set up one headline as a control and choose at least two others as variants. (Remember, you need to have a large enough audience to justify further variants, so that you have a statistically significant sample size). Consider headline variations such as; including numbers, asking a question, use of different emotive words and addressing the reader directly (“you” or “your”).
- Shorter vs. longer copy.
- Formatting of content, for example, bulleted lists vs. paragraphs, use of subheadings or not.
There’s no right or wrong way to manage your own website copy, it’s about tuning in to your particular audience and understanding what resonates with them. As a general rule, your copy should demonstrate value and expertise while building curiosity with the reader. Think about any images you use the same way – how does it engage your target audience?
To “pop-up” or not
Pop-ups tend to induce a love-hate response among people. Many people will passionately decry them, however, there is plenty of evidence to show they work for certain websites.
Practically speaking, pop-ups are very handy as a lead generation tool. They don’t rely on the visitor navigating to a certain place and they’re difficult to ignore! One of the obvious first tests is a control state of no pop-up vs. having a pop-up. Do people respond and sign up?
Next, you’re looking at the pop-up itself, for the elements that you test on other forms and pages. You can test different designs, test when the pop-up is shown (for example on entry vs. on exit) and test copy, headlines and imagery. Also consider factors such as popup placement, size and contrast.
Your opt-in forms
Besides factors we’ve already discussed (images, headings, content), there are other elements to opt-in forms that can encourage new leads or not.
The length of the opt-in form is one key area. As a general rule, you should only collect the bare minimum information that you need, however, you can test shorter vs. longer sign-up forms. People are often reluctant to hand over too much information, or can’t be bothered with a lengthy form. On the other hand, as a business, being able to collect data that helps you to segment leads can be very helpful!
Another thing you can test is the number of steps to fill out a form. It’s common on mobile now to have two or more form steps, but this can also be used on desktop websites. Sometimes breaking it down into steps is more appealing to visitors, but again, this is something to test.
One A/B test that always seems to be raised when it comes to buttons is their color. We wrote a piece a short while ago explaining why button color isn’t the best test, and what you might do instead.
You might choose to test color, but your time is usually better spent testing elements that have the potential for a bigger uplift. For example, the size and placement of your button. A tiny button pushed off to the side somewhere is unlikely to attract a lot of leads!
Your “call to action” (CTA) or button copy is another key element to test. Again, you need a control version to test against variants. An important thing to remember is to ensure you’ve been as clear as possible. Any ambiguity as to what the button does or why they should click can scare potential leads off. “Click here” means nothing, but something like “Get your copy here” is much more specific.
Have you checked out your inbox lately? If you’re like most other people, you get bombarded with emails daily. This tends to make people hesitant about who they give up their email address to.
With this in mind, testing out the use of “trust” elements on your forms or pages can make a difference to lead generation. For example:
- Including a privacy statement on the form or page – “We respect your privacy,” “Your information will be kept private,” “We will never spam your email”…
- Including logos of trusted brands where you’ve been featured (Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Today Show… etc).
- Including testimonials.
- Including the number of subscribers (where it makes sense to do so). For example, “join the newsletter with over 500,000 subscribers.”
We’ve touched on some of the elements here which can help to give you a better uplift if your specific focus is lead generation. Remember that with any A/B testing, it’s important to have baseline data first, so that you can devise better hypotheses to test.
With any sort of lead generation, it’s crucial not to remain static. The chances are you have more than one type of person among your target audience, and while one lead magnet might not appeal, a completely different one might be just what they’re looking for.
The bottom line is that you can’t assume your original lead generation setup will be the best one. Make sure you’re utilizing the pages that are visited the most often and that the way you have structured your offer appeals to visitors. Keep testing and progressing your lead generation efforts!