You always want more customers for your SaaS products. However, are you making the common mistake of spending the vast majority of your time on driving traffic rather than on driving conversions?
According to Econsultancy, for every $92 dollars companies spend on acquiring visitors, they spend only $1 on converting them. This is puzzling, given that a mere percentage point or two increase in conversion rate can dramatically increase revenue. If you spend a great deal of effort, time and budget on getting new visitors to your site, failing to maximize conversions is akin to throwing away money.
A higher conversion rate means more customers, more revenue and more profit. But a successful landing page for one SaaS product may flop for another.
Successful landing pages can take time to achieve, through continual testing and ongoing optimization.
To that end, below are six effective methods for increasing the conversion rate of your SaaS landing pages to ensure they are strong business building tools for your products.
1. Create a testing plan
Before you begin conversion rate optimization efforts, create a landing page testing plan.
Striving to optimize your landing pages without a plan often leads to random results that lack methodically tested and proven conclusions. It can also easily lead to missed opportunities for page improvements.
Define your goals up front. Figure out the sequencing of the factors you’ll test (e.g., headline, messaging, images, colors, trust elements, text length, form placement, etc.).
Figure out how you will test. Do you want to use an A/B testing tool like Visual Website Optimizer, which can test the various elements on your pages, or Unbounce, which is more of a landing page builder for testing purposes?
Also, design your reporting and analysis plan. Determine a minimum number of page visits for any test to ensure a statistically valid sample size; otherwise, you risk making premature decisions that can easily lead to incorrect conclusions.
In addition, know your success metrics. Are free trial registrations valued equally to demos viewed? If not, your analysis should have a clear weighting for each.
2. Conduct A/B and multivariate testing
A/B testing is the process of comparing the performance of two versions of a landing page by splitting traffic between them. It takes the guesswork out of optimization.
A true A/B test should have only one difference. ONE. For example, testing the color of a call-to-action button color. Once you have the winner, test one other page element, and then one other element and then one other element.
For a property management SaaS product, we tested different visuals, testimonials, colors, text layout, benefit statements and trust elements in a string of sequential A/B tests. The combined result: an 83 percent increase in conversion rate in less than a year.
Multivariate testing, as opposed to A/B testing, involves the testing of multiple factors on the page concurrently. For example, instead of testing just one button color change or testing the inclusion of an image vs. a video, you could test both in combination – ultimately testing four scenarios at the same time. This works for some companies; but in order to draw a statistically significant conclusion, this type of testing requires a sufficient volume of data and takes more time than A/B testing.
3. Solve a problem
Does your headline solve a specific problem? In the CRM SaaS space, for example, landing page headlines include:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Make [Product Name] CRM Your CRM
- This Is Not Your Normal CRM
- [Product Name]: CRM and ERP business solutions
The headlines above mainly focus on the product category itself or on a vague, fluffy tagline. They do not help the person looking to solve specific problems with a CRM software implementation, for example.
Compare the above headlines instead to these:
- Zoho CRM’s headline of “Close More Deals in Less Time”
- HubSpot CRM’s “Take Control of Your Sales Process”
- Contactually’s “Turn Relationships into Results”
People looking for SaaS products are looking to eliminate a frustration, achieve a goal or solve a problem. Help them understand how you empower them to do that.
4. Improve cognitive fluency
Make your landing pages as immediately understandable as possible. Our brains are wired to prefer information processing that’s easy and intuitive.
In a 2012 study, Google found that site visitors determine whether they think your site looks good or is confusing within 50 milliseconds upon arriving on the page.
Don’t make them work hard at understanding what you have to say, because they typically won’t.
The degree to which your site visitors interpret your landing pages is called cognitive fluency. The retina converts what it sees on the page into electrical impulses, which in turn are transmitted to photoreceptor cells that deliver information to the brain. The easier the process, the more your site visitors associate good feelings with the experience.
Cognitive fluency impacts not only your landing page visitor’s brain, but also how he or she feels. In other words, the sensation of ease or difficulty in their thinking guides them to feel a certain way about your landing page, about your SaaS product and about your company.
If you want more conversions, ensure your landing page design is simple and that your messaging is extremely clear.
5. Refine your call to action
Focus like crazy on your call to action (CTA). The way you phrase your CTA, the CTA button color and the button placement can dramatically change your landing page performance. For example, “Start 14-day Free Trial,” or “Free Trial” or “Get Started” can result in a variety of results. Often, using a contrasting color for your CTA button works more effectively than a color that blends naturally into the rest of the design, but you’ll want to test multiple contrasting colors to maximize results. Moreover, placing your call-to-action above the fold or below the fold, on the right or the left, can impact your results.
You can also test the inclusion of one CTA vs. two (e.g., “Start Your Free Trial” vs. “Take a Tour”).
When creating CTAs, avoid bland, generic language such as “Create Your Account” or “Get Started.” Unbounce uses the CTA “Build a High-Converting Landing Page Now.” This is a strong, contextually relevant CTA. In comparison, one of their competitors uses “Contact Us” while yet another uses “Play Our Video.” Hmmm.
The CTA is the final step before the conversion. It’s money in the bank. Treat it as valuably as it truly is.
6. Ditch all assumptions
Well, sort of. So you have a landing page design that works well, a headline that resonates and a CTA that encourages users to convert. That’s a good start. Now, try testing your best-performing landing pages against each other.
The SaaS company Basecamp has conducted many different landing page tests (long form vs. short form, text vs. images, different headlines, different images, and so much more). When they tested two well-performing pages, black text on white background long-form design vs. short form with a large photo of a smiling customer, the latter produced a 102.5 percent increase in conversions over the original.
And don’t always take best practices as gospel. Test changes that go against the grain. While studies have shown that content above the fold attracts 80 percent of a visitor’s attention, conversions for one of our clients increased by approximately 50 percent after we moved the form below the fold. You just never know until you test it.
In the end, every business is different. So, test, test, test. Just like running, the more you do, the faster you become. So continue pushing new boundaries and optimizing your landing pages so that you can achieve conversion results that fuel the growth of your SaaS business.
Elizabeth Cagen is director of strategy and operations at Stratabeat, a marketing, branding and design agency. Stratabeat’s team has developed marketing strategies for market leaders such as Intel, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, P&G, Staples, AppFolio and eBay Enterprise.