“Trivial” to “Strategic” Landing Page Tests

business-man-skater-contrastI’ve talked before about landing page components, posts that have …. well, sorta…bumped up against the TESTING part of landing page lifecycles (yeah, I think “lifecycle” fits the ideal of a landing page). From a web copywriters POV I firmly believe you should be testing various aspects of your landing page(s), even better if you have a few in the same niche, cuz then you have the opportunity to really HEAR what this post at Search Engine Land, How to Construct Rational Landing Page Tests (by Scott Brinker) is all about– without skipping out because you may think it’s a waste of time.

In a nutshell Brinker’s post cogently argues:

“…[some] folks claim that there are universal recipes that improve conversion rates in all situations—so-called “magic bullets.” These aren’t general best practices, such as “employ good visual design,” but rather specific formulas such as “use a green background,” “have an image of a smiling person”, and “include three one-line bullets.”

Way to go. I’m still stunned when marketers want to hitch their landing page wagons to these falsehoods. Yu mean to tell me that if you’re pitching for a click on a LP selling girdles that you’ll use the same damn message and design and fill-in-the-blank copy as you used on your lander for the ultimate house flipping guidebook? As if….

Women with a wobbly middle who will do anything to invisibly sculpt that thang for tonight’s hot date have VASTLY different triggers than a guy who’s close to buying the image of himself as the next biggest thing in adventure real estate since sliced bread. Which is why Brinker’s digression into market segmentation is so appropriate. My little image above goes a bit astray of the point. However, if you’re avoiding carbon copy landing pages, but still constructing landers without testing various market “tastes” you are likely still missing a massive conversion opportunity…with segmentation testing.

Brinker lays out his “rational” test categories like this: Trivial, Contextual, Tactical, Strategic. Here’s his graphic:

sel landing page tests

My fear is that when skimmed too quickly one could easily misunderstand this schema. First, “Trivial” does not mean these components are unimportant– COPY and headlines and the other LP chunks tossed in that bucket  — in the lifecycle of a landing page, only that they are “trivial” to development of meaningful nuts and bolts LP tests, what Brinker calls “reusable learning.” In other words, the copy (including headlines) and colors are boat rockers, they’re loose cannons, you can’t always count on them to perform the same way in other similar circumstances. Brinker argues that with this potential for sudden change we have less of a real world chance to nail down a tried and true reason for example,  why headline #2 suddenly increased conversions by 40%.

(I’m not sure I totally agree with him on this aspect of his post, btw).

Beyond this point Brinker really gets deeper into the need for market testing segmentation with the Tactical and Strategic component buckets. It all sounds great–granular, measured, bullet-proof– but unfortunately I’m not sure many rapid-fire marketers are really going to go to the lengths he suggests to get this wholly done: short pages, long pages, multi-pages, micro-sites all compared and contrasted….to ferret out the message effect on various “slices” of the niche market.

Read the post and see what you think. Big Picture: a Landing Page is quickly and easily manipulated and often your niche market has many more triggers than you might imagine–testing could seriously alter your response and in some cases you could finally nail down some measurable theories of your own.

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One Comment on ““Trivial” to “Strategic” Landing Page Tests”

  1. Sal Says:

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I can recommend you Logaholic Web Analytics, a simple but powerful tool that allows you to easily set up split tests for your landing pages in just a few seconds with Logaholic Web Analytics.


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