Finding Motivational Triggers in Landing Page Optimization

By Chris Goward, WiderFunnel Landing pages rightfully get a lot of attention from marketers who are focused on conversion optimization testing.

After all, they are often the most visited pages on a website, and typically the ones advertisers spend the most money driving traffic to. Clearly, it's important for every enterprise to find ways to boost conversion rates on these workhorse pages.

Getting a landing page that does a better job of converting visitors into paying customers isn't the only benefit of strategic conversion optimization testing; there is a bonus effect that can be just as valuable as all of those extra sales a company is getting.

Even though an entire website needs to be continuously tested for conversion optimization, landing pages play a crucial role in helping an enterprise identify its most important value proposition - the key factor in triggering conversions. Once an enterprise identifies the value proposition that works best for its audience, it has a new tool that can be used in all of its outreach efforts.

Landing pages are the best places to test value propositions, because their visitors have "virgin eyeballs" and are eager to absorb messaging. Get it right, they'll stay on the page and look for more. Get it wrong, they'll bounce.

Understanding Perception Filters

Each person looks at the world through different eyes. Website visitors have unique frames of reference that are colored by their perceptual filters. It's as if each of them wears different glasses that change what they're looking at before it reaches them.

These mental filters can dramatically alter how a prospect understands messages. Knowing this, understanding how your customers perceive a value proposition is the most important element in online marketing.

Defining the Value Proposition

A value proposition is the outcome of the cost versus benefits equation that gives prospects motivation to act.

If the perceived benefits outweigh the perceived costs, prospects will be motivated to act. If the perceived costs are too high, however, visitors will bounce.

An enterprise needs to discover a value proposition that offers the best chance to close the most sales. Emphasizing the most important parts of the value proposition will maximize conversion rate.

There are many tangible and intangible elements that can influence a company's perceived benefits, including product or service features, incentives and offers, awards, case studies, social proof, celebrity endorsements, copywriting tone and more.

UXers and CROs Find Middle Ground

Once at odds, Joe Doveton of GlobalMaxer explains how those responsible for user experience (UX) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) are working together for better website development within their organizations at Establishing the WIIFM

At a simplistic level, website owners could take the WIIFM (What's In It For Me?) approach.

Every marketer understands the WIIFM concept. Brands already know how to speak to their customers, understand their needs and communicate in their individual languages.

The WIIFM are all the features and benefits prospects could get from a company's products and services. But, it's not prudent to communicate them all at once. When brands try to emphasize everything, their prospects absorb nothing.

So, how does a marketer know which features are most important to their customers?

Generating a Hypothesis

Traditionally, marketers have relied on their own intuition to come up with the "right" features to create and emphasize. Sure, they may get input from small groups of customers with surveys and focus groups. But, there are many reasons those small segments are not as effective as they may seem.

So, how do marketers decide what could be valuable to test for their customers?

Each business's combination of prospects, products and competitive environments are unique. To find out what works best, marketers need to create a great value proposition hypotheses.

For example, we recently ran an A/B/n test for a client to determine which of four different positioning approaches would resonate best with their audience. We tested this on a high traffic PPC landing page. Each of the four pages was identical except for the headlines and introductory paragraphs that positioned the company's service to focus on different aspects of their benefits.

In this case, the winning value proposition positioning statement improved the landing page conversion rate by 40 percent. But the value this client gained from this test went beyond the initial 40 percent boost. The point is, don't underestimate the power of copywriting and a few important words.

Not only does their marketing team now have a better performing landing page, but they also have a positioning statement that has been shown to persuade more of their prospects to act. They came away with a greater understanding of the motivational triggers to use throughout their marketing communications. That means the results of the tests can now reverberate throughout their entire marketing strategy.

Chris Goward is the founder of WiderFunnel and the bestselling author of, "You Should Test That." Follow him on Twitter at @chrisgoward.