Posted by STMartin

You can’t afford to throw money away on inefficient tactics in the paid advertising space. Keeping your campaigns cost-effective is a must. To streamline your paid campaigns, there are many different landing page best practices you can employ. We’ve seen the most significant of these results often come from optimizing your call-to-action.

Now, optimizing your CTA can include a few different factors. Not only is there placement, copy, design, and the usual list of CRO check boxes — there’s also the psychology of the interaction itself to consider.

To truly optimize your individual paid campaigns, you should get far more granular with your CRO. This will include taking your actual value proposition under investigation. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself regarding the psychology of your landing page and CTA:

  • Where is my user in the buyer’s journey?
  • Are they in the right stage for this conversion?
  • Is what we are offering convenient/valuable enough?
  • Does our offer align with the information we’re asking for?

You’d be surprised how often your CTA issue is offer-related as well as copy-related. Too many marketing managers are focusing on fixing their landing page copy, when they should be asking their CMOs to consider changing what they offer in the first place.

Results from our CTA psychoanalysis study [SaaS]

The best insights are built on hard-earned data — so we decided to get some for you before we started. The CTA Psychoanalysis Spreadsheet (which you can click the image to download for free) analyzed the CTAs of the top 100 SaaS landing pages:

What we found in the study is that most CTA issues fall under one of four categories:

1. Clarity

The main issue here is that the goal conversion of the page is unclear. This can be because you are using vague copy (like “click here”) on your buttons. Or it could come from your landing page lacking the necessary information to educate your user on their need for your service.

As you can see in the screenshot below, the landing page may look clean but it lacks any helpful information to educate the user on why they should convert. Especially for early-stage searchers, this page might as well be a black-hole of mystery and friction.

Make sure that your landing page has any necessary information your user needs to be adequately informed on your product/service. Here are a few things to focus on:

  • Time-saving value of your product
  • Competitive pricing of your product/services
  • The exact pain point your product/service solves

2. Timing

Here we saw that many landing pages were offering assets to the user that were not appropriate for where they were in the buyer’s journey. For example, if a user hasn’t been given the right contextual information to understand their need for your service, offering a free trial in your CTA is a bit misplaced.

The same goes for offering digital assets with zero explanation of what they are:

Make sure that your offer properly aligns with where your user is in the buyer’s journey.

  • Top-funnel offers just ask for contact information
  • Mid-funnel offers can push branded experiences like email subscription
  • Bottom-funnel offers get to focus on scheduling meetings and calls

Lastly, whatever you offer, make sure you explain what they heck the user is downloading so they aren’t blindly clicking spam.

3. Friction

Whenever you’re asking for contact information from a user, you need to walk a fine line between value and friction. The more information you ask for (name, email, business, competitors, etc.) the more friction you’re going to force on your landing page.

If your forms are asking for every bit of information your user could possibly supply, they’re probably bouncing off en masse. Make sure what you ask for is equal to what you offer.

The majority of B2B search marketers report that the form field “sweet spot” for conversions is somewhere between 3–5. Any more than that and you start pushing users away.

4. Placement

This has been, and always will be, an issue for CTAs. Online readers aren’t known for their attention spans — and you only have a few seconds to grab and hold their attention.

This means that your goal conversion (your CTA) should be highlighted and attention-grabbing. At the least, it should be visible immediately when you land on the page. You’d be surprised how many sites we still see with nearly invisible CTA buttons buried under a forest of irrelevant images:

Pro tip? Make sure your buttons are easily found… that is, only if you want your users to click them.

These are just the common issues we ran into while studying an entire industry. While these prove that there are many common CTA issues that can be easily fixed, it doesn’t prove how impactful fixing them can be.

To see just how powerful optimizing your CTAs can be, keep reading.

3 B2B case studies to prove the power of CTAs

Now I did just lay out that there are four primary issues to handle when it comes to CTAs. But the last issue (placement) can be fixed fairly easily. As long as your button is clear and visible with plenty of empty space to isolate the goal conversion, you should be in the clear.

But when it comes to the other three CTA issues, fixing them can get a bit more complex. We’ve found that breaking down the psychology of the landing page interaction is a great way to reverse-engineer the buyer’s journey to your site.

Through this, we’ve been able to test some aggressive CRO strategies with our clients’ campaigns. What we’ve seen is that the most impactful changes come from addressing either:

  • Convenience of the conversion
  • Copy of your button and landing page
  • Landing page offer or gated asset

B2B search marketing is all about understanding the nuances of your end customer and where to ideally place your brand in order to convert them. If you really want to streamline your buyer’s journey, you’ll dive deep into these CRO puzzles.

Case study 1: Changing the CTA convenience

We were able to drastically increases this client’s conversions by optimizing their CTA. In this instance, “optimizing” refers to making the conversion more convenient for their users.

The goal of their landing page was to fill their pipeline with qualified leads interested in scheduling a demo. This is a great lead-gen tactic, and the landing page was a clean, streamlined experience.

But what we realized was that “scheduling” a demo can cause serious hesitation in users. Scheduling requires them to go into their own calendar and consult when they’re free and can match your company’s schedule.

To make the conversion more convenient, we created a demo video that was available for download. Luckily, the client already had a great video asset that we could use.

This way, instead of trying to consolidate two calendars (user’s and company’s), the user could download the video and watch at their discretion. (On the left: “Schedule a Demo Today!” & on the right: “FREE 5 Min Demo Video”)

When it comes to convenience, it’s important that you speak to users not only in terms of dollars, but time. While money is always a resource that we want to save, time is an invaluable and infinite resource that we are all constantly clamoring for more of. If you really want to impress users, start speaking to them in terms of time-saving value. You can see from the screenshot below that doing so will prove worthwhile.

That’s right — we saw over 738% increase in conversions by making the process more convenient for users. That’s some serious conversion rate optimization — which leads to some serious revenue.

Case study 2: Changing the CTA copy

By optimizing the exact phrasing of this software site’s CTA button, we were able to drastically increase their paid leads.

Now, if you are running any sort of serious landing page campaign, your CTAs will explicitly state the goal conversion of your page. For example, a “click here” button simply isn’t going to cut it. If you are telling them to read a blog, download an e-book, or schedule a meeting, your CTAs should read accordingly: “Read now,” “Download e-book,” “Get in touch.”

But copy-focused CRO goes beyond just focusing your CTAs. A/B testing your button copy to see which variants convert more of the traffic your ads generate is also key. In this case, we tested whether the industry-oriented copy or the value-oriented copy would convert higher.

Originally, the button read only “Watch the Demo Video” — a CTA that we knew worked from the previous test above. We tested the two screenshots in two different targeted markets.

The first (MES Software) was targeted towards industry experts who would hopefully react to the specific copy. The second (Free) was for everyone else. The results were quite interesting:

  • “MES Software” Results: 8.18% increase in conversions
  • “Free” Results: 9.49% increase in conversions

We can see from the results that targeting your CTA copy towards your target market’s vocabulary does work quite well. But, as in most cases, emphasizing that the asset is free of charge eliminates nearly all friction from the experience, which resulted in a serious increase in conversions.

Thus far we’ve seen that changing the CTA to cater to your user’s convenience results in serious increases in conversions. Emphasizing a great deal with “free” in your copy also work incredibly well.

The more value you convey through your button’s copy (whether it’s monetary with “free” or expertise with “MES”) the more success you’re likely to see. But what happens when you change your landing page’s offer altogether?

Case study 3: Changing the CTA offer

What we saw in this third campaign is that oftentimes there are multiple search intents behind the traffic your paid ads are generating. This means that not everyone who clicks through your ad is seeing relevant material if you’re running a blanket campaign.

But these clicks are still potential leads that you are leaving on the table. Don’t let them bounce off. Create a custom experience for each of your distinct search intents. Don’t just stop at niche — go all the way to creating custom experiences for singular searchers!

Previously, this landing page CTA was focused on a singular goal (scheduling a demo), but there were multiple search intents behind who was clicking on their ad. Because of this we were seeing a lot of bounces.

After we looked at the data, we realized that we could create a custom landing page experience for each of these different search intents. One of these was focused on a certain industry report, the second with a new cybersecurity threat, and the third with the actual brand name in mind.

In the screenshots below, you can see how we created three unique experiences for different expected users:

This newly segmented landing page campaign saw a drastic increase in conversions by targeting each of these different buyer’s journeys. The more customized an experience you can provide, the more conversion-prone your user will be.

Instead of hoping that a catch-all ad campaign would generate leads from each of these different intents, try the opposite. Creating a more customized user experience will rarely come back to bite you. After all, the conversion rates of each of these segmented pages speak for themselves:

  • Gartner Report Conversion Rates: 36.9%
  • NSS Report Conversion Rates: 18.63%
  • Healthcare Cybersecurity Conversion Rates: 8.85%

As always, when it comes to digital marketing, segmentation should always yield more success.

Takeaways: Smooth slide to conversion

As far as golden rules go, your CTAs should be following one:

Make conversion easy for your users.

This goes for any interpretation of the word “easy” you can think of. The more convenient your offer and the more value-driven your landing page & button copy, the more enticed your users will be to convert. CRO takes more than just copy and design into consideration.

To truly master your buyer’s journey and become an ROI-driven CRO mastermind, you need to analyze the psychology of your paid campaigns. You need to dive deeper into the implications of each market interaction. And — most importantly — you need to implement changes that will drive leads/revenue, not just empty clicks.

The smoother your CTAs, the smoother the slide straight to your sales team.

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