Closing Time

A/B Testing & Optimization Tips to Increase Web Conversion Rates

If you want to grow your business, spending money on getting more web traffic may seem like the right move. However, Sahil Patel and his team at Spiralyze take a different approach.

Why not increase conversions from the traffic you already have?

Small changes…BIG results. That’s the power of website optimization. 

In this episode of Closing Time, Sahil shares specific tactics to increase web conversion rates on landing pages and web pages.

He’ll explain the “1-second test” for ensuring landing pages immediately convey the right message, the significance of A/B testing over impulsive design changes, the power of visual elements like client logos and product images, and the strategic placement of videos to avoid cannibalizing conversions.

Buckle up because this episode is packed with actionable insights (both large and small) for optimizing web pages to drive better conversion rates.

Watch the video:
Key Moments:
Measuring cognitive load with the one-second test

Today’s businesses, especially in B2B SaaS, often grapple with the challenge of driving traffic to their websites while ensuring that these visitors convert into customers. Investing heavily in advertising to boost web traffic is tempting, but without a well-optimized landing page, this effort can be futile.

The real key to success lies in website optimization. Effective optimization ensures that once potential customers arrive, they are immediately engaged and directed toward making a purchase or taking another desired action.

Sahil, an expert in this field, shares tips on refining landing pages to maximize conversions. Let’s get started.

Applying the 1-second test

When it comes to webpage optimization, Sahil suggests starting with the “one-second test.” This simple, yet powerful technique helps determine if visitors immediately recognize they are in the right place when they visit your page. It must be obvious and simple, requiring minimal mental effort from the audience. This concept ties into “cognitive load,” which refers to the mental effort required to process information on the page.

To measure cognitive load, Sahil recommends directly comparing the ad that drives traffic to the landing page. He suggests placing the ad and the landing page side by side in a browser. There are three key elements to look for:

The Hook: Identify the compelling promise in the ad, such as “easy to use payroll software.” This is what gets them to click.

The Mirror: Ensure the landing page mirrors the hook from the ad almost exactly. This alignment helps visitors feel confident they are in the right place.

The Ladder: Make sure the mirrored message is prominent, ideally the first or second thing visitors see. If they have to scroll or search for it, you’ve likely lost them.

Sahil emphasizes that the “one-second test” is a straightforward, effective tool that doesn’t require advanced technology or expensive services. By following these steps, anyone can quickly assess and improve their landing pages, ensuring they convert more effectively.

Using the F-pattern for content layout

The layout of your content plays a crucial role in how visitors interact with your page. Sahil recommends using “the F Pattern” for content layout, a proven method to enhance user engagement and readability.

The F Pattern is based on the way people naturally scan web pages. Studies have shown that users typically read in an “F” shape: they start at the top left, scan horizontally, then move down the page, scanning again horizontally but shorter, and finally, they move vertically along the left side. This pattern reflects the typical flow of the human eye, making it an ideal framework for organizing content.

The F Patter for web design

To implement the F Pattern effectively, Sahil suggests the following strategies:

Place Key Information at the Top: The most important elements, such as headlines, key messages, and calls to action, should be positioned at the top of the page. This area receives the most attention and sets the tone for the rest of the content.

Use Subheadings and Bullet Points: Break up the content with clear subheadings and bullet points. These elements create horizontal lines that align with the F Pattern, making it easier for users to scan and absorb information quickly.

Align Important Content to the Left: Since users’ eyes tend to travel down the left side of the page, place crucial information, like navigation menus and key details, along this axis. This ensures that important content is seen even if users don’t scroll further.

Keep It Concise: Web visitors often skim content rather than reading it in-depth. Keep paragraphs short and to the point, and highlight key phrases or words to capture attention.

By utilizing the F Pattern, you can design your webpages in a way that aligns with natural reading behaviors, making it easier for visitors to find and engage with your content.

This method not only enhances user experience but also increases the likelihood of conversion, as visitors can quickly locate and act on the information they need.

The power of visual hierarchy

When it comes to what content should appear on your web pages, Sahil has pretty solid insights from viewing thousands of A/B tests. Here’s what the data says.

Human brains process images faster than words. This is why Sahil advises placing client logos prominently at the top of the page. This strategic placement quickly communicates whether the company solves problems for customers similar to the visitor.

For instance, if a company serves enterprise clients, displaying logos of well-known corporations like Walmart, Coca-Cola, or GlaxoSmithKline can reassure potential customers in similar industries. These logos signal that the company is capable of handling complex, large-scale operations, which builds trust and credibility.

Below the logos, content that requires a bit more cognitive effort, such as testimonials and star reviews, can be highly effective. These elements, like Capterra and G2 rankings, are particularly influential for mid-market and SMB audiences. Testimonials provide social proof and detailed feedback, which can persuade potential customers by showcasing real-world success stories and positive experiences.

Sahil emphasizes that while different elements can work for different audiences, the hierarchy of content matters significantly. Logos create an immediate visual impact and quick judgment, whereas testimonials and detailed reviews support the decision-making process by offering in-depth validation.

Placement and impact of video on landing pages

Sahil acknowledges that while video can be a powerful tool, its placement on a landing page is important. Data indicates that having a video in the hero section can actually hurt conversions. This is because video demands significant attention from users and when they engage with a video, their finite attention is consumed by it.

Even short videos can deplete a user’s attention reservoir, leaving them with less focus for the crucial next step: converting. As Sahil points out, after watching a video, users might understand more about the brand, but they often don’t take the desired action, such as filling out a form or requesting a demo.’

On any landing page, there is a mix of high, medium, and low-intent visitors. Sahil suggests optimizing the above-the-fold area—the part of the page visible without scrolling—for high-intent users. This segment, though possibly smaller, represents the most valuable traffic. For these users, the call to action (CTA) should be clear and prominent, urging them to take immediate action like “Contact Us,” “Request a Demo,” or “Sign Up for a Trial.”

For medium and low-intent users, who are less likely to convert immediately, placing video content below the fold is more effective. These users will naturally scroll past the initial CTA and may choose to engage with the video. While they might not convert during their current visit, the video can help to engage them, leaving a positive impression that could lead to future interaction.

The power of product and quantitative headlines

Many B2B SaaS websites suffer from vague, weak headlines that fail to grab attention or make a compelling promise. Instead, Sahil advocates for specific, measurable claims that immediately convey value to the visitor.

For example, instead of a generic “Request a Demo” or “Contact Us” page that vaguely outlines benefits, a headline like “30% Faster Payment Processing” can be much more powerful. This type of headline is not only attention-grabbing but also provides a clear, quantifiable benefit. Supporting this bold claim with concise, credible copy further enhances its believability.

Another piece of advice is to display the product on the page prominently. Many B2B SaaS websites make the mistake of using stock images of happy people instead of showing the actual product. Sahil points out the absurdity of this approach by comparing it to car commercials without the car.

Visitors to a B2B SaaS site are primarily interested in the software itself. They want to see what it looks like and how it works. Sahil suggests asking salespeople which part of the demo consistently impresses potential customers. Screenshots or visuals of this feature should be front and center on the homepage.

The Google Translate test for measuring visual clarity

Sahil introduces a fun yet revealing test that anyone can perform with their team, and he suggests that it’s even more impactful when done with higher-ups in the organization, such as the C-suite or board members. Here’s how it works:

Translate the Homepage: Take your company’s homepage, right-click on it, and choose Google Translate. Select a language that no one on your team speaks.

Show it to Others: Show this translated page to five people. For added impact, have your C-suite members show it to five of their friends.

Guess the Company’s Purpose: Ask them to guess what the company does based on the images and overall layout, without understanding the text.

The goal is not for them to pinpoint your exact market segment or product details but to categorize the business correctly. Based on the visuals, they should be able to say that Insightly CRM‘s site looks like business software rather than something irrelevant like, “They make conference rooms.”

Your homepage acts as the storefront, the front door to your business. It should be immediately clear what your company does, primarily through visuals that speak volumes. If people can correctly guess the general nature of your business without understanding the language, your homepage is doing its job well.


Updates to keyboard shortcuts … On Thursday, August 1, 2024, Drive keyboard shortcuts will be updated to give you first-letters navigation.Learn more
Rather than spending additional money to get more traffic to your website,
how about getting more from the traffic you already have?
We’re going to talk all about conversion rates in this episode of Closing Time.
Welcome to Closing Time, the show for go to Market Leaders.
My name is Chip House.
I am the CMO of Insightly CRM, and I’m joined by Sahil Patel,
CEO of Spiralyze, a conversion rate optimization firm.
Welcome to the show.
Hi, Chip.
Great to be here.
I’m excited that we’re doing this because,
you know, it’s sort of the era of efficient growth.
And I have a feeling that your services
are coming in really popular these days, is that true?
That is totally true.
I think it’s something we’ve seen quite a bit of pick
up in the market in the last year, especially in B2B SaaS.
Yeah, it makes sense.
I mean, it’s
been a rough year for a lot of people in the SaaS space, especially B2B.
And so I know you work with a lot of B2B. SaaS companies.
You want to talk about
what are some of the commonalities of the challenges that they have?
Yeah,. I think there’s a couple of challenges.
Whether you’re kind of big enterprise company like CrowdStrike,
whether you’re a more smaller niche player.
One, they’ve spent a lot of money acquiring traffic
that could be on Google search ad campaigns, could be on LinkedIn,
could be on investing in SEO, number one.
Number two, almost everyone hits some level of diminishing returns.
You can’t double, for the most part you can’t double your ad spend
and get twice the traffic.
Just doesn’t work that way. Right.
And then they’re left with, okay, we’re getting all this traffic.
We got more traffic than we did last year
and we got the same number of conversions.
What’s not happening here?
Yeah, exactly.
I think most most people, like they design a website and they’re
thinking brand and they’re thinking,. I need to talk about my product
and they might have some sense of how to optimize it.
But the best way to do that is like AB testing, right?
It is. It is.
And there’s a lot of different flavors of AB testing.
But I would say AB testing generally
is going to get you much better results
than rolling out a new website or rolling out a new homepage
based either on impulse, based on hunch, or based on what
the proverbial highest opinion in the room says.
That’s how you end up things with the CEO’s dog on the homepage.
And, you know,. I always say data beats opinion
any day, and that’s certainly true in your business. So
let’s say you’ve got a great ad that’s getting tons of clicks
because you do websites and you do a landing pages, Sahil?
We do.
Yeah, we do.
We do websites, we do landing pages.
We do really kind of any web property that you have, domain,
subdomain, anything where you’re driving traffic.
And, You know, typically a landing page you’re paying to drive traffic there.
And so, you know, a core metric you’re looking at, is always you know, once
I’m paying for the traffic to get there, is it actually converting?
And so what’s the first thing you look at when you’re
challenged with optimizing a landing page?
Well,. I think the first thing is I like to apply
the one second test and the one second test, something
everyone listening can do, which is just break up that landing page
and can you instant can your audience instantaneously
know that they’re in the right place?
Mm hmm.
Has to be obvious.
It has to be simple.
And it has to be done in a way that doesn’t require your audience
to do a bunch of kind of mental gymnastics to figure it out and to use kind of
marketing speak or a psychology speak.
They call that the cognitive load of the test.
Really kind of three things. I look for to measure
the cognitive load is. I I’ll take the ad that it started with.
Let’s say you’re running a LinkedIn ad
and then I’ll put the landing page next to it in my browser, side by side.
And I look for, what is the hook on the ad that gets people to click?
It’s usually a few words that promise them something.
Could be, easy to use payroll software, so that might be, I call that the hook.
And on the landing page I look for two things called the mirror and the ladder.
The mirror is
I want to just exactly mirror the hook from the ad on the landing page.
Like literally word for word or very close to word for word.
I think you have to
because you want them to feel like they’re at the right place, like you said.
But you’d be surprised how many times it doesn’t happen.
And then second, you want to ladder it up.
So it’s prominent.
It’s got to be the first or second thing.
If your audience has to look for it kind of hunt, they have to scroll.
You’ve lost them.
So that’s what I call the one second test.
Now, we could talk about
some other techniques kind of that are more advanced,
but it’s kind of a really simple one, two, three test that everyone can do.
You don’t need fancy technology
or an expensive agency to assess your landing pages.
So one of the things that I see on landing pages is marketers like to write
and they typically write too much, you know, and people are not reading
I would think in general, all of that copy.
A good way to think about it is the shape of the letter F,
like a capital F, and your audience generally
is going to start at the top left corner of your page.
They’re going to kind of
read to the right,
then they’re going to read to the right, and then they’re skim downt.
There’s lots of exceptions.
And by the way, I would highly recommend if you haven’t already install a heat
mapping software, it gives you some really powerful indications of where
people scroll and click in.
But generally speaking, yes, that F pattern and the first
most important thing is get your most important information, that headline,
that skimmable content, and some kind of CTA above the fold.
The users should not have to scroll vertically to find those things.
Yeah, it makes good sense.
And I think this next thing. I’m going to ask about, I think often
falls in
the opinion area, like the CEO might want, Hey,
put all of our biggest customer logos up there
and then you know
your person who is responsible for customer reviews wants to make sure
that you’re taking credit for your G2 and your Capterra ranking or whatever.
So what works the best?
Or is it just it depends.
You know,
I think we can do better than it depends by virtue of what I do for a living.
I have the benefit of seeing thousands, thousands, not just web pages,
but of AB test with some evidence, some aggregate data on what works.
Here’s a couple of things I’ve learned.
One, your brain processes images faster than words.
So from a visual hierarchy standpoint,
I want put things like client logos as high up as possible.
So that’s
the first thing I would start with because they instantly tell your audience,
Does this company solve problems for people like me with problems like mine?
And what we find is the enterprise audience
generally tends to convert better with logos
because if they see a Walmart or Coca-Cola
or GlaxoSmithKline, these big Fortune 100 type companies, it tells them, okay,
they serve the enterprise audience.
I’m in the right place.
They’ve got the compliance stuff in line, they got the customer support.
They know how to implement complicated organizations.
On the other hand, if you serve Sahil’s dry cleaner,
maybe you should put that because you can have the opposite problem.
Someone goes, Oh,. I think this is for enterprise
and I’m, you know, Chip’s dry cleaner, I’m going to leave
because it must be expensive and complicated.
The opposite is actually true.
So logos are really powerful, your brain can instantly
make snap judgments without having to think a lot.
I think under that then
things that require a little bit more cognitive load, like
testimonials, star reviews, Capterra, G2, all of those things are good.
Generally, that kind of mid-market SMB tend
to respond better to things like testimonials.
So how do you feel about the use of video on landing pages?
You know, I think a lot of us marketers, again, we do,
we do stuff and then we want to use it.
And, you know, it may not all be appropriately
placed if you’re trying to convert on a landing page.
I’m going to hone in on one really important word
you used there, Chip, which is placement.
Video can work really well if it’s placed right and it can really
hurt your conversions if it’s not placed right.
The data shows on a landing page,
video in the hero section hurts conversions.
It cannibalizes conversions because it takes your users scarce
finite attention and it directs all of it on the video.
By the way, YouTube has trained all of us, when we see that little play button,
we just got to click it.
By the end of the video, even if you have a short video, a 30
second video, I’ve seen some really long videos, even a short video
your user’s reservoir of attention is lower than when it started.
Yeah, and so now they’ve watched the video and maybe they understand
more about your brand, but they still did not convert.
Right. Yes.
And the question is, who?
On any landing page, you’re going to get a mix of audience,
high intent, medium intent, low intent.
And you’re above the hero, you want to optimize for that high intent audience.
That may be only a small slice of the traffic.
That’s the most valuable traffic.
And so I’m a big fan of, put that CTA for your high intent audience
and put your medium intent and low intent
type of content, things like a video, put it below the fold.
There’s nothing wrong with having video,
but don’t put it in your hero on a landing page.
Let your opened the door for your highest intent to convert.
Stick that form or a CTA that says Contact us
or talk to us, or request a demo or sign up for a trial.
And below the fold, By the way, that low intent
audience they’re going to skip right passed that CTA.
There’s nothing you can do about it.
Let them scroll and they’ll watch the video and then that
may be all that they’re going to do today, but you’ve engaged them.
And so what other things come to mind
that’s small like that that people need to think about?
Yeah, I would suggest two things
that are easy or at least straightforward, don’t
require a lot of gymnastics to implement or at least to run a test.
One is the quantitative headline.
Especially in B2B SaaS.
I see lots of the vague, weak headlines.
They don’t grab my attention and they just don’t tell me
or make a promise of what I’m going to get.
The prime
example is someone has a demo request or contact us page
and they say, Here’s what you’ll get out of the demo.
Like, does anyone on earth not know what they’re going to get out of a 20 minute
demo meeting with the salesman?. I think we all know it.
There’s no surprises, whether you like it or not like it.
We all know what we’re going to get.
I think something much more powerful that says
30% faster payment processing.
It’s specific.
It’s quantitative. Measurable, Yeah.
And it’s measurable.
And then what you want to do is you want to support it, by the way.
You don’t want to make then three new claims.
You make one bold claim with a number and then supporting
copywriting above the fold should support it, make it more believable.
Here’s how.
Here’s why you should believe that 30% claim.
So that’s one.
Two, show your product. Show your product.
Show your product.
Now, if you think about the last car commercial you saw,
if you subtracted the car from the ad, you’d be left with nothing.
Yeah, we laugh because it’s so absurd.
It’s amazing how many B2B SaaS companies
on their homepage, there’s no pictures of the product.
They’ve got these kind of like a stock images of happy people.
First of all, what are all these people doing at work that they’re so happy?
You know, I love my job, but most of the time I’m sitting hunched
over a keyboard, you know, holding my head or trying to figure out what to do.
I’m working. Yeah.
It’s called a job for a reason.
That’s why it’s called work.
And I know the idea is we’re going to show a picture of who are audience is
and they’re going to relate to that person.
I will say the data shows they don’t care.
They’re here to buy.
I’m talking the context of B2B SaaS, they’re here to buy some software.
Just show them whatever the best.
You ask your salespeople,. What’s the page in the demo
that you show and your audience goes, Oh, wow?
Pick that screenshot, put it on your homepage.
Yeah, I think when we did testing with you. Sahil, we had like five of the eight
initial tests to win, which I think is an unheard of kind of win rate.
It is.
It is.
I wish all my clients got that.. Which was great.
Right. And
I think most of
it felt like relatively low hanging fruit.
Right.. And one of the things that we did was
showing the product on the demo page, right?
That’s right.. Just showing more of the product.
And so as a buyer, maybe psychologically I’m almost there.
I just have to fill out this form and then I get to see the product.
So any other final tips for us?
You know, I would I’ll give you
a, the show the product idea.
I’ll give you a fun test that everyone can do at home
with their coworkers.
And by the way,
I would even say the higher up in the organization you do it, the better.
Like do it with your C-suite, Great.
Do with your board, Even better.
Take your homepage, right click on it and choose Google Translate
pick a language that no one on your team speaks
Arabic or Urdu or Hindi.
Show it to five people, or better yet,
have your C-Suite show it to five of their friends
and just have them guess what is this company do?
Now Chip, if we took your company.
You wouldn’t expect someone to know the precise market segment
that Insightly is in, or necessarily even that exactly what it does.
Or it’s position.
But they might be able to say something like this looks like business software.
That’s what you’re looking for is like some kind of categorical answer.
If they said something like,
they make conference rooms because there’s a picture of someone
in a conference room, you know you’re in the wrong place.
And it’s fun. It’ll get some laughs.
But it’s also a way to quickly say hey what is the cognitive load
that we put on people when they come to the home page?
Home pages are your storefront,. It’s the front door to your business.
And in that case, I can see the product totally speaking volumes
just by showing it, I mean, here’s what we’re really selling here. So.
All right, Sahil.
That’s all we have time for right now.
So thanks so much for joining us.
Thanks for having me, Chip.. It was a lot of fun. Yeah.
And thanks to all of you for tuning in to this episode of Closing Time.
And we’ll see you next time.
Thank you.

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