We’ve all heard the same tips over and over again: A/B test your main call-to-action buttons, optimize your forms, and test different landing pages. But this post reveals lesser-known optimization methods.
Over the past year, we examined more than 150 B2B sites. We tracked their key metrics and analyzed which changes really impacted conversion rates.
We learned five lesser known optimization methods. In this post we share how to test each one.
1. Use Two Main CTAs Side-by-Side
The rule of thumb is to use only one call-to-action (CTA). Typical UX rules don’t encourage the use of two main CTAs placed side-by-side. While you usually want your users to sign up, there are other important actions like scheduling a demo or taking a tour. In many cases, deciding which objective will be the main CTA is not an easy choice.
We analyzed a few dozen sites placing two CTAs side-by-side. In 57% of cases, we found an increase in the conversion rate for both buttons. In 20% of the cases, there were hardly any changes, and in 23% of the cases, the number of conversions went down.
Below is an example of side-by-side CTAs.
The next example is from Smartsheet:
In addition to increased conversion rates, placing two CTAs side-by-side also resulted in more clicks from different types of visitors.
This is because the first call-to-action usually addressed more decisive visitors, encouraging them to sign up or schedule a call. The second button addressed “newbie” visitors who want to understand the product better. This call-to-action offered more information about the product, with the option to take a tour, sign up for a webinar or watch a video. While these options were available elsewhere on the website before, placing them as CTAs made a big difference.
Placing a “learn more” option as a call-to-action, while maintaining the main conversion objective, is a great solution for converting different types of visitors.
How to measure it: If you’ve already defined events and/or goals for these buttons, simply keep on measuring the results after adjusting design and location. Otherwise, the easiest solution is to use an A/B testing tool such as Optimizely.
Another test you should consider is tracking if users who picked the secondary call-to-action (such as “take a tour”) were more likely to convert during the same web session or future visits.
2. Remove the Main Menu From Some of Website Pages
The top priorities when building a website usually include highlighting the brand, creating the right flow and maintaining the same visual language. However, this is not always aligned with optimizing the funnel and increasing the number of qualified leads.
Keeping the same navigation and structure for all the site pages can sometimes lead to unwanted flows. In over 70% of the cases we analyzed, completely removing the main navigation bar or using a lighter version of it on strategic pages (such as features, pricing or white papers) helped to increase the number of signups and completions of other actions.
The psychology behind this change is to prevent distraction and unwanted flows. For example, you don’t want a user who just completed the product tour to enter the blog, you want them to sign up.
Landing pages are “outlaws” and can bend the site’s design rules. Try not to think of your website as one set of main pages and a set of landing pages—add a new layer in between.
How to measure it: The main metrics you should follow are the conversions per page (on the pages you’ve changed) as well as the overall number of conversions.
3. A/B Test Your Pricing Page
Fifty-six percent of site visitors who sign up for B2B services visit the pricing page beforehand. While most A/B tests take place on the homepage and landing pages, the pricing page is usually pretty static. Out of the tests we ran, changing the pricing page had the highest impact.
Here are some tests you can run that will likely move the needle:
Reduce the number of features per plan. We tend to list as many items as possible on the premium plan, from 24/7 support to each type of integration. But this can lead to messy pricing pages. Try to focus only on the main benefits.
Try changing the plan that is marked as the default one. This is a big and risky decision, but can create high impact. The unwritten UX rule for pricing pages is to highlight a “default” plan, usually the one with the mid-range price. Using a different plan is very likely to make a significant impact. Changing the default plan even for a few days can teach you a lot about your users and may lead to surprising results.
Name your plans differently. Plan names are usually a few years old and are never questioned or revisited. It could be that renaming your plans can change your visitors’ decisions.
How to measure it: This is pretty straightforward. You only have to compare a few days’ results with your average numbers. If you decide to keep your changes, it may be good to run a cohort analysis and track the churn as well.
We advise not to compare just bottom-of-funnel results, but also track the initial plan visitors select, and observe how they interact with the modified pricing page.
Since B2B sites usually don’t generate a large number of paying customers every week, measuring more stats will help you understand the impact faster.
4. Change the Layout and Timing of Pop-ups
Pop-ups usually generate a significant number of leads and blog subscribers. The standard optimization paradigm for pop-up dialogs is changing the image, call-to-action and even the concept.
However, the highest impact we’ve identified is changing the layout and display method. For example, will they appear on the entire screen or just part of it? How many seconds after the visitor enters the site does the pop-up appear?
Here are a few tests you can run:
Recently more and more sites and blogs have switched to a fullscreen layout. This means that instead of a pop-up dialog, the entire screen is covered with a message and a field to enter your details. The fullscreen pop-up increased conversion rates by 30% in our tests.
Try using a shorter threshold before displaying the pop-up. It sounds reasonable to display the dialog only after the user had some time to explore the site or the blog. However, real-world data shows that displaying the pop-up after about 15 to 30 seconds usually generates better results.
How to measure it: The easy answer is to simply measure the number of conversions coming from a pop-up dialog and compare them to the previous period.
To separate the registrations coming from the pop-up and other locations, you can use Oribi, a simple event tagging tool that shows you where each objective comes from without requiring help of developers or analysts. While following the conversions trend is the standard way to measure this change, you may want to add it to a cohort as well.
You might find out that displaying a more dominant pop-up brings more users, but they are not as high in quality as users who signed up through a more “modest” pop-up.
5. Build a More Aggressive Funnel from the Blog to the Main Site
B2B companies tend to keep their blog as un-commercial as possible. Marketers are worried that people won't read their blog if they push their brand too much. One of the main queries we ran on the batch of B2B sites is the correlation between blog readers and conversions. We find a low correlation between repeat blog visitors and their likelihood to sign up for the product.
But we find 90% of the conversions come from first-time visitors. If the goal of your blog is to convert visitors, test how promotional content affects your overall conversion rate.
If you run a bigger blog with the goal to strengthen your brand, you might also want to test how much product promotion your readers accept. You want to track the impact of your changes on conversion rates as well as on engagement on the blog, such as bounce rates, time on page and number of pageviews per web session.
How to measure it: Make sure to tag visitors coming from the blog and track prospects whose first touch comes from the blog. See if you have more conversions over time. Also, keep track of engagement metrics like time on page, average number of posts read by visitors and repeat visitors to the blog.
For businesses with long sales cycles and a sales team, use marketing attribution to connect your site optimizations to revenue and growth metrics.