|Monday, 08 October 2007|
Topic: Lead Generation: Is Your Sign-Up Process Costing You Leads and Conversions or Maximizing Them?
Are you missing sales by chasing after Conversions instead of generating leads? Is your website out of sync with your business model?
Getting prospective customers to land on your pages is just the beginning. You may need to capture leads before you develop relationships. Your products and market may benefit more from a lead-generation approach than from a direct sales strategy.
This brief shares what we discovered about Conversion and lead generation during recent optimization testing with three different research partners. The partners were from three distinct industries, but they shared at least one important characteristic.
Editor’s Note: We recently released the audio recording of our clinic on this topic. You can listen to a recording of this clinic here:
Case Study 1
We conducted a 4-week test for a global online vacation rental marketplace. The site is a specialized portal where a subscription path allows vacation property owners (condos, hotels, bed and breakfasts, etc.) to list their rental property and connect with interested travelers.
The objective was to increase the site’s subscription Conversion rate, so we proposed a radical path redesign.
What you need to understand: The Treatment resulted in substantial increases in unique user visits to the credit card and up-sell option pages, but only an 11% increase in Conversion. The sample size was not sufficient at that level of difference (11.11%) to be statistically conclusive.
During the analysis we compared the Website’s performance against the partner’s other platforms for taking subscriptions and found that most sales were closed by other means.
Even though the partner’s site was designed for direct sales, it was actually functioning mainly as a lead generator. Sales were being closed predominantly by follow-up via telephone and email.
So we returned to the test results and asked another question:
Which version, the Control or the Treatment, generated more leads?
What you need to understand: The Treatment offer path generated a 38% increase in the number of leads captured for the partner to leverage in their follow-up.
The radical redesign resulted in a simpler, shorter, clearer layout that facilitated Lead Generation.
Sometimes we realize only incremental improvements because we have not asked an important question: What is our primary objective?
In retrospect, the approach of the entire Website needed to be re-examined.
If your product and acquisition model favors “offline” closes, consider the role of your site: Is it better as a lead generator than a Conversion engine?
Sites where the perceived level of investment or purchase risk is high―—or where the process is comparatively complex——are good candidates for a Lead Generation approach.
Case Study 2
Test Design 1
We conducted a two-week A/B split test for a company offering an investment newsletter & trade alert service.
The objective was to increase the site’s Conversion rate to subscription.
The existing subscription path was 5 pages long.
A large amount of traffic was being generated by a TV show where the host directed viewers to a URL to sign-up for the service after they had heard the offer.
We wanted to identify whether eliminating the offer page―—and consequently shortening the path―—would increase the number of subscription sign-ups.
Original subscription path
While the Conversion rate was statistically unchanged, the relative rate of email capture/lead generation rose by more than 194%.
The majority of visitors to the site were driven there from the author’s television show, so most arriving prospects were already highly qualified and motivated to purchase. For these people, the long-copy offer page was a source of Friction; especially since it included a large block of legalese―—fine print” close to the call-to-action.
By having customers land on the sign-up page in the Treatment path, we were able to capture more email leads.
There was no mention of price on the first page.
Several sources of Friction were mitigated.
Why did the Treatment path not have a much higher final Conversion rate?
On the second page of the Treatment path customers encountered the same significant sources of Friction that had formerly been on the third page. The second page also contained what our analysts refer to as a “negative surprise”: the price plus “caveat” terms which had been explained on the landing/offer page in the Control path. This caused roughly the same percentage to abandon prior to purchase.
This set the stage for the second test.
Case Study 2
Test Design 2
What you need to understand: The Treatment path increased email lead capture by 49%. With the basket-recovery follow-up, the treatment path had a 56% higher relative Conversion.
Key point: capturing email addresses generated leads, allowing the follow-up sequence that increased Conversion.
Optimization testing of the email campaign continues. Further insights may appear in upcoming research briefs.
Case Study 3
We conducted two tests, each lasting one week, for an online personality testing organization.
The objective was to design an offer page that would motivate more people to take the assessment. The business also wanted to collect personal information from users, including street address.
The Conversion path was:
Landing page -> Assessment -> Registration -> Profile Results
The treatments that included email capture on the offer page had a separate page asking for a street address before the profile results would be delivered.
Four designs were tested in week 1:
The best page in week 1 became the Control for a micro-test in week 2 designed to verify the primary results.
What you need to understand: The treatment requiring the least personal information, fewest fields, and shortest copy was 326% better at lead generation than the longest treatment. The Conversion rate was 54% better.
Consumers are constantly warned against giving personal information to companies. Asking for personal information increased Anxiety.
Presenting a long block of copy for them to read before delivering what they came for increased Friction.
The combination of significantly reducing both Anxiety and Friction in Treatment #1 vs. #4 produced a major increase in lead generation.
If a user has given you personal information and established a relationship, how do you plan to maximize it?
What’s your plan to continue to provide value, so the relationship is maintained?
Do you have a way to effectively track leads and outcomes?
RELATED MARKETING EXPERIMENTS REPORTS:
As part of our research, we have prepared a review of the best Internet resources on this topic.
These sites were rated for usefulness and clarity, but alas, the rating is purely subjective.
* = Decent | ** = Good | *** = Excellent | **** = Indispensable
Editor(s) — Frank Green
Writer(s) — Peg Davis
Contributor(s) — Maria Hendricks
HTML Designer — Cliff Rainer
Email Designer — Holly Hicks