How to Strategically Create and Optimize Landing Pages

by Josh Todd on February 7, 2011

This is a guest post by Danny Schwartz, lead designer at landing page design team WePixelate.

As a landing page designer and former affiliate, I’ve got the best of both worlds and a ton of knowledge when it comes to creating and optimizing landing pages for conversions.

One thing I’ve come across time and time again in the affiliate industry is that unlike traffic sources, people tend to not approach landing pages and optimizing with a degree of strategy. Perhaps this is because people in general tend to look towards increasing traffic to increase profits rather then optimizing landing pages, or perhaps it’s because there doesn’t seem to be an exact logical path one can take when designing landing pages to ensure that they achieve the maximum level of potential they possibly can.

People tend to approach landing page optimization and creation with the mindset of “oh, I’ll just change out that call to action there” and “hmm, let me try a pink background instead of white”, essentially it’s an approach which favors tracking random elements, as oppose to tracking elements that have a logical basis for being changed.

What do I mean by this? I mean start thinking strategically about which elements are going to have the biggest impact on your conversions, and change them, not the color of some random icon on your page.

Here’s a little insight kind of steps I take to create and optimize landing pages for my clients. I will be throwing in an example of a dating website for a campaign that is specifically targeted towards males that are between 30 – 35 for a Facebook campaign.

  • Create 6 or so completely different styles of landing page, that all deliver exactly the same message, for example “Free exclusive account, only 1 left, find your match now” with a description of the account they will be getting. One page may for example contain a picture of a 30 year old professional kind of guy making out with a similar girl, another may contain a set of pictures of girls who are “using this service”, another will have a picture of a really sexy girl lying down, each page having a different call to action and fonts and what not. Point being, each page is drastically different, with the only similarity being the message.
  • Once my client has tested each one to a reasonable standard, e.g. 100 clicks, I then take the best converting page and change out the message that’s delivered to the visitor, taking the offer they’re looking for and spinning it into a different perspective, so for example I’ll have “We’ve got the kind of women you’ve only dreamed of” or “Women so sexy that you won’t need to Facebook stalk people any more” or “Over 1,273 people have found their perfect woman”. Point is again, drastic differences so that differences can really be felt.
  • My client then tests each new page to a reasonable standard, e.g. 100 clicks and tells me which one is converting the best. I then take that page begin changing smaller elements and working with the client to do back and forth tests, until we reach a point where continuing to optimize is no longer worth mine or my clients time, e.g. where any changes are too small to make any significant impact.

This is what I define is a strategic way to create and optimize pages. Unfortunately, being affiliates, there’s a certain “peak” level, where optimization becomes ineffective due to merchant landing pages play a significant if not, the most important role in attaining those conversions. Pre-selling and pushing visitors to make a purchase or fill in a lead form is one thing, but ultimately, it depends on the merchant to secure that lead or sale.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake February 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Do you consider 100 clicks a “reasonable standard? Seems quite low for any split testing I’ve done. This may give you some insight for a basic A/B test. But for multivariant testing, you’d need WAY more data.

Reply

Danny Schwartz February 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

@Jake. That is a measure for a simple A/B test, and in no way a reasonable amount for a multi-variate test where there’s an awful lot more to look at. Again, 100 clicks, is what I would consider a reasonable amount for a basic landing page with merely one action option (e.g. one call to action button) placed on it, and I’d probably extend that to a landing page where everything is above the fold too.

100 was also base mark, to illustrate a standardized number such as 10, 100 or 1000 as oppose to a random amount. Sorry I didn’t really clarify that in write up.

Reply

Shock Marketer February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm

The testing of either several different LPs or copy-style first is a good suggestion.

Testing just using an arbitrary number of clicks is bad advice. You should continue to test until you’ve reached at least a 95-99% confidence (which is a statistics measure). This is the ONLY way to be strategic in testing.

Reply

Josh Todd February 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I’ve seen a couple of different methods for calculating confidence, which one do you use Shock?

Reply

Jeff D February 10, 2011 at 10:05 am

Yea it’s not the best option but say you are a small business who gets limited traffic and to reach the 95-99% confidence rating could take weeks if not months.

Some testing is better than none.

But when possible ALWAYS test till you have a definitive winner.

Reply

Danny Schwartz February 10, 2011 at 9:17 am

@Shock Marketer. You’re right, using an arbitrary number is bad advice. I was more trying to illustrate use solid number whereby you could see significant differences appear across a wide sample size than anything else, but ultimately the number of clicks isn’t important.

(I confess, I’ve only just read up on confidence levels and intervals myself, but I can definitely see how they’d be useful).

If anyone else wants to have a read here’s a good source – http://www.sportsci.org/resource/stats/generalize.html

Thanks for your comment, it’s really appreciated :).

Reply

Chris February 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Good stuff Josh. IM has gotten so competitive that the difference from a profitable campaign and not is your optimization.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: