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How Many Links are Required to Increase Landing Page Conversion Rates?

Executive Summary

  • Should the order button and links be peppered throughout a sales letter?
  • Can this single design element be important for landing page optimization?
  • Can design alone increase landing page conversion rates?

My brother-in-law, Randy, is always amazed at the website design elements I test when creating new sales letter landing pages. He thinks, that after running the test once or twice or a 100 times, I should just know the answer. When I’m trying to increase landing page conversion rates, there are times when I conclude that I know fewer absolute answers the more landing page tests I run.

I was reminded of this while attending an Internet marketing conference a few weeks back. The subject of where to place landing page order buttons and links to increase landing page conversion rates came up.

It’s one of those things that you’d think we’d just know by now.

Let me tell you why we don’t.

The Venue: Copywriting grand master Bob Bly had the podium at the first Agora Internet Marketing Conference—a three-day, $4,000 event attended by a Who’s Who of top Internet marketing gurus and landing page optimization specialists.

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The Question: To optimize a sales letter landing page and increase landing page conversion rates, where should the link to the order flow be?

  1. Peppered throughout the landing page?
  2. Only at the bottom of the sales letter?

Bob asked for a show of hands and chuckled as the lack of agreement on this simple question became clear.

The Right Answer: Secret answer number three… it depends. Bob could hardly contain himself. This is a test I may have personally run several hundred times over the past 10 years. Over that period I’d say that 8 out of 10 times, response rates are neutral or higher with option one—pepper the landing page order buttons and links through the copy, making sure there’s one on the landing page entry screen. What makes the difference? Here’s my best guess: if the product is well-known, easy-to-understand and cheap, the “pepper them everywhere” approach almost always wins. The chance of a loss for approach one increases as the product is less well known, more difficult to understand and more expensive. We spent 15 minutes discussing this at the conference.

Lesson: Human psychology and perception are finicky things. When we try to increase landing page conversion rates, we test key elements of sales letter landing pages and order flows (and other website design elements), because we can never be sure how the average user will respond. Experience allows us to handicap the outcomes, but there are many outcomes that we can never predict with more than 80 percent accuracy and many with far less confidence.

So, Randy, that is why I test what appears to be the same things over and over. For each unique combination of product, buyer and the hundreds of elements on the landing page that may cause them to buy or click away, the only sure way to increase landing page conversion rates is to test the variations and go with the winners.

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