Solved: The Mystery of Plummeting Conversion Rates

Solved: The Mystery of Plummeting Conversion Rates

Last updated on August 18, 2016 by Ted Vrountas in Conversion Rate Optimization
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On the off chance there is someone out there who doesn’t know this, killing conversion rates is a lot easier than boosting them.

The two biggest perps of “conversocide” are ignorance, and neglect. Today we’re going to banish the ignorance by showing you some silent killers that could be lurking on your landing page.

Only you can solve the neglect problem by actively avoiding the following six conversion killers. The success of your entire campaign depends on it.

The Rogues Gallery of conversion rate killers

1. Using your homepage as a landing page

In the world of landing page optimization, this is a cardinal sin.


People arrive on your landing page because they clicked through from somewhere else, meaning they want to be there. Whether it was a promoted tweet, a PPC ad, or a link in an email, they clicked it — and for good reason, they liked what they saw. Or, they are looking to learn more about your Or, you’re offering an ebook they want. They clicked expecting to find what they’re after on the next page.

Instead you sent them to your homepage and now they must either search your website for what they wanted in the first place, or leave.

If this were you, which option would you choose?

If you had sent them to a landing page, you could’ve avoided this. They’d claim what you offered and you’d tally another conversion. Because landing pages are designed to do just that.

They each have their own singular purpose. Your homepage, however, does not.

A homepage has too many distractions, too many points of exit, and if you’re hoping to convert your prospects on it, your chances are slim.

If you’re using your homepage as a landing page, whether for PPC, social media, or email, your conversion rates are suffering because of it.

2. Your form is too long

Forms have always been a contentious issue among marketers. Mostly because there’s no consensus among us around what information to ask for, where the form should be placed; we can’t even agree on how long the form should be.

When your form is too short, you run the risk of collecting leads from people who reflexively submit their information and probably don’t have a genuine interest in your offer. The “leads” generated by these forms may be plentiful, but the majority of them are useless and become the kind of junk data sales teams spend their days sorting through weeding out the unqualified leads.

When the form is too long, just the sight of it can be so overwhelming that it causes prospects to click away as fast as their mouse will let them. And if the length of the form doesn’t do it, the thought of submitting so much personal information will effectively scare them off.

The secret is finding that sweet spot — and it’s different for everyone. But when in doubt, opt for a shorter form rather than a longer one.

By removing form fields, this beauty shop boosted conversions by 11%, this parking service increased form submissions by 45%, and Expedia boosted profits by $12 million.

Remember this Golden Rule for form fields: Only ask for the information you absolutely need. That should keep you from going overboard and frightening your visitors away.

3. You’re not using a custom URL

Want to really confuse your landing page visitors? Don’t use a custom URL on your landing page.

Here’s a picture of a landing page made with Instapage that the creator didn’t bother using a custom domain:

This picture shows how marketers will lower their conversion rates by not using a custom URL.

See the page’s URL up in the address bar? It includes “.instapage.”

The people who visit this landing page have probably never heard of Instapage. They think: “What’s Instapage? Is this an official Zocchi Real Estate page or is someone trying to rip me off?”

On a page that’s designed to get people to hand over their personal information, you can’t afford to confuse your prospects. That’s why it’s important to make all your online communications consistent.

Everything from your social media posts and URL structure, to your product labels and mission statement, should be cohesive. That cohesiveness is a better known in the marketing world as “brand consistency.”

Studies have actually shown that brand consistency strongly influences buyer decisions. 34% of people say they’ll spend more on a brand that’s highly consistent with its messaging, and 39% say they spend less on inconsistent ones.

Quit confusing your customers and make sure you publish your page to a custom domain.

4. Including too many calls to action

If you give people too many decisions to make, oftentimes they won’t make any (science says so).

So how do you think they’d feel about the page below with 42 options to choose from?

This picture shows how marketers can lower their conversion rates by using too many CTAs.

Pretty overwhelmed, right?

Even this Sprout Social page has too many CTAs, and there are only two different kinds — a "free trial" and "learn more:"

This picture shows how marketers will lower their conversion rates by using competing CTAs.

This infographic from marketing guru Neil Patel proves that removing options and eliminating distractions almost always boosts conversion rates.

Remember, each landing page has only one goal. So if you want it to perform at its best, it should only have one call to action.

5. You didn't remove your navigation bar

This is one of the primary rules of landing page creation, but marketers violate it all the time. In fact, research has shown that only 16% of landing pages remove the navigation bar.

If you’re one of the 84% of people that hasn’t gotten around to taking your navigation bar off your landing page, you’re distracting your prospects and killing your conversions.

Lim Cheng Soon, a growth hacker at Pair, demonstrated this when he used heat mapping software to determine where his landing page prospects were clicking.

This picture shows how Pair fails to increase conversions because there are too many distractions.

This picture shows how Pair used heatmap technology to learn what visitors were most interested in on their landing page.

Here’s what he found, and what he did next:

"Turns out, I found out too many people click on the navigation bar on the top instead of clicking the conversion button (link to AppStore and Google Play). So I made up a theory that having too many 'distractions' around the conversion button wasn’t such a good idea.

So I do a couple of A/B tests based on the theory of removing the 'distractions' around the conversion button. Such as hiding the navigation, hiding the social sharing button, hiding the 'Download for Free' text. I even do 'counter theory' test as to prove my theory wrong by having a larger 'Download for Free' text."

Removing the navigation resulted in a 12% increase in conversions! Take a page out of Lim’s book and make your landing page navigation-free.

6. Your call-to-action button colors are all wrong

People spend a lot of time trying to figure out which button color converts best — and we can’t blame them. After all, 92% of buying decisions are based on visual factors – and up to 90% of that is just color alone.

What a lot of people fail to realize is that optimizing CTA buttons is less about color, and more about contrast.

There have been cases when changing a button color has resulted in an enormous lift in conversions — but that’s not the norm. The most important thing to focus on when it comes to your button color is to make sure it stands out from everything else on the page.

Is there any question about where you need to click to reserve your spot on this webinar landing page?

This picture shows how a contrasting CTA color will increase landing page conversions.

Absolutely not.

Conversely, the call-to-action on this landing page is a similar color — but the contrast is minimal:

This picture shows how Plastic Otter lowers their conversion rate by using a similar color CTA button.

It almost blends in with the five other fields on the form, doesn’t it?

Since they’re both the same color, they should impact conversions equally. But it’s pretty obvious that this CTA button doesn’t stand out nearly as well as the example above — and that’s what you should be focusing on.

Try different colors if you want, but don’t get obsessive like Google did when they tested all 41 shades of blue. Your time is better spent optimizing other things.

As long as your button contrasts the rest of your page, and it’s clear where the user needs to click to claim your offer, you’re in business.

It’s not too late to revive your conversion rate

Armed with these tips and a fully customizable landing page software, you’ll be able to alter your landing pages without IT assistance, to begin bringing your conversion rates back up to where they belong.

Import your own landing page, or start fresh today with one of Instapage’s 100+ templates!

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