Testing and Tracking to improve your conversions

by : John Taylor

Creating an effective sales letter page is an essential part of your online success. However, unless you're testing and tracking each critical element in your sales content and your sales process, you may be losing a great deal of time and money.

You can dramatically increase your sales conversions simply by taking the time to test and track your results. Not only will testing and tracking enable you to determine what's working and what's not, but it will also help you to focus your energy on the techniques that produce results.

When testing, keep in mind that, a technique that produces results for one person or one web site may not produce results for you or for your web site. There is no one size fits all technique that works for everyone. You must develop your own style and technique and test your results to determine what works for you.

So, what are we measuring? Well, you may think that I am over simplifying matters here but I believe that there is only one real measure and that is simply the outcome of your visitors’ decision when faced with a choice. Whatever your most wanted response is your visitor will either say yes or no. Every decision, or call to action, that you want a prospect to take must be tracked.

The result of that tracking will be a yes or a no. When you know that a specific number of visitors took the desired action, and the remainder did not, you can analyse your results. If you take the total number of unique yes calls to action, and you divide them by the total number of unique visitors to the web page you will know your conversion rate. For example, if 1,000 people visit a web page where you have an ezine opt-in form, and 30 people opt-in, your conversion ratio for that opt-in form is 3% (30/1000).

So what parts of your web page should you try to improve? Here is a list of web page elements that you should focus your attention on:

  1. Headline

  2. First few paragraphs

  3. Follow up

  4. Deadline

  5. Scarcity

  6. Delayed payment option

  7. Price

  8. Upgrade

  9. Downgrade

  10. Good until cancelled

  11. Guarantee

  12. Immediate back end sale

  13. Bonus items

  14. Reposition your offer

  15. Alternative colours and graphics

  16. Readability

  17. Complementary product endorsements

  18. Header graphic

  19. Order page

  20. Payment process

  21. Navigation links

  22. Everything else!

When you are testing and tracking make sure that you only work on one element at a time. If you change two variables and you see an improvement in conversion ratios you will not be able to identify which one factor made the contribution.

You should also bear in mind that some changes may result in poorer performance; you may get less sign ups to your ezine or less people buying your product. This is not a failure it simply means that you have discovered a tactic that doesn’t work for your audience or your product. One final point, be patient.

The expert statisticians will tell you that you need at least 25 actions for a test to be statistically valid. That means 25 new ezine subscribers or 25 sales. Anything less than that and your test results will not really be accurate enough. In fact the more results the better, you should consider 25 to be the absolute minimum and aim to get 30 to 40 if you can.

Copyright 2004 John Taylor