15 Ways to AB Test Your Opt-in Forms
You and your team put a lot of thought and hard work into crafting effective website pages, with the goal of converting site visitors and generating leads. How you design your opt-in forms can make all the difference in achieving your goals, but unless you put AB testing to use, you’ll never know what’s really working or why. Here are 15 proven ways to AB test your opt-in form using different variables. Be sure your form’s timing and placement are having maximum impact on your user experience, and ultimately, your conversions.
1. Test results with or without social proof (testimonials)
Testimonials are usually effective, but you always want to understand the pull of your basic message and design. Measuring your test results without testimonials will give you a way to establish a baseline. Then, add different types of social proof to find out what your customers want to hear and see.
2. Limit your call-to-action choices and test alternate versions
Your call to action should be closely related to the underlying reason that people like your products. You’ll have a hard time determining exactly why your audience gravitates to your product if you don’t test different CTAs.
3. Choose the right key performance indicators (KPIs)
You may gather completely different results based on which key performance indicators you choose. The main point here is to focus on the KPIs that are most important to your business function, not necessarily on those that show you the best results.
4. Evaluate the response to each CTA
How does your audience respond to your opt-in form? Do you get a better reaction from a different color or a different ordering of questions? Test until you get the response that most closely coincides with the action that you need your audience to take.
5. Test alternate copy on the opt-in button
Believe it or not, people may respond differently to a different word on the actual CTA button. Try exclamation points, or different slogans (keep them short), or try text that is connected to your business as opposed to commonly used general text (like click here, join now, etc.). Depending on your industry, proprietary text may be best, but general text may actually work better for more commercial industries.
6. Testing artwork variants
The visual component of your pages is extremely important. Be sure you’re implementing artwork that will engage your target audience. Try different styles of visuals, like YouTube thumbnail-type, vector and hand-drawn artwork, depending on your website’s style.
7. Above the fold vs. below the fold
Do you get more response by placing your opt-in text above the fold? Keep in mind that the CTA or opt-in form does not have to be the last thing that a customer sees. In fact, sometimes putting an email sign-up where direct ads normally appear is a very effective trick. One test actually improved email sign ups by 30%–of course, not all audiences respond well to this tactic.
8. Content bundles instead of single pieces
A popular type of opt-in formatting involves teasing more content after sign-up. If your brand is information intensive, this could be an ideal technique for your audience. However, if your product tends to sell itself on sight, you may be better off skipping the content bundle. Experimenting—the AB testing approach—is the only way to know for sure what makes the difference.
9. Visual cues
Do you want to point your audience directly to your opt-in form? Some websites use very obvious arrows and even flashing text to direct site visitors to a form. Some use these techniques to direct traffic down the form. More typically, companies prefer to keep a lower profile on their opt-in forms. Take a close look at the click density when using both choices, or try testing the results when you use a more subtle arrow on your forms.
10. Sliders/no sliders
Site visitors often see sliders as annoying, but sometimes being annoying gets more eyeballs on your content (just be careful to serve up a strong hook to keep people engaged once you have their attention). Check your conversion rate when you AB test this design technique. It’s easy to unintentionally hide content behind it, disrupting the sales flow for a customer who would otherwise move through it and convert.
11. Positive or negative headlines
Many marketers believe in a slightly negative slant on the headline of your opt-in form, relying on the axiom that “good news does not sell.” There’s a belief that the so-called rubberneck effect keeps people engaged throughout the opt-in process because they don’t want to miss out on a deal. Keep in mind, this may backfire if, for example, you are in an industry related to holistic medicine—you’ll be better off keeping your headlines completely positive.
12. Triggered pop-ups
Here’s another great example of an annoying tactic that often works, namely, the triggered pop-up. You may have to change the tone or language of your text because of the disruptive nature of the triggered pop-up, and you’ll need to figure out what changes will suit the format. At the same time, your stats may completely tank if you try to force your hand with a trigger. Try it both ways and find out.
13. Minimal copy vs. images
Images will always draw attention, but not always the kind you want. Your customers may or may not want to see them on your opt-in forms. In some cases, simply having straightforward minimal text is the best move, leaving your viewer with no other choice but to move forward. However, this may require a bit of prodding with a strong image as well. Giving both formats their just due is a great way to find out what your audience prioritizes.
14. Change the emotive value of your opt-in screen
It’s important to be aware of how your audience is feeling at all times, including while they’re facing your opt-in screen. According to Neil Patel, top SEO guru, any emotion can give you a conversion, but it is really important to understand why your audience is “feeling that way.” This information can give you insights for future design changes, as well as for understanding your conversions.
15. Run your opt-in on different pages
Your landing page or homepage probably sees the most traffic, so increasing your conversion rate on this page directly determines how many people view the rest of your sales funnel. It could be that the opt-in form is best located on a deeper page—one that gives the opportunity to convert after a viewer has learned more about the company, product or opportunity that is being offered.
These 15 tips are just a start on ways to test your opt-in, but they provide a good inventory of ideas you can build on. Work your way through as many as you can to develop the best optimized conversion page possible, one you can count on to produce results. If you stay tuned in to new technologies, you’ll keep finding new opportunities to convert more visitors into leads and see your ROI climb steadily upward. Get deeper insights from the pros by talking with one of our SEO experts about innovative ways to change your SEO–and your future along with it.
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