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Friday, Apr. 2, 2010 at 7:45 am

Testing Late Stage Traffic Improves Conversion Rates Quickly

By Melissa Burdon
April 2nd, 2010

If you’ve been following our blog, you have probably read by now that we start working with our clients by first understanding their data. We look at their top-performing marketing channels and segment each traffic source into early, middle and late stage prospects.

The traffic you can impact quickly is your late stage traffic. These are your visitors who know exactly what they want when they arrive at your site.  By removing the conversion stumbling blocks that may be hindering them from taking the action they came to take, you will easily increase your conversion rate for your late stage traffic.

One of our clients, LifeSource Water Systems, recently experienced a lift in their conversion rate by more effectively speaking to their late stage traffic.  First, we were able to identify that their late stage traffic was searching for brand-specific keywords such as “lifesource water systems” as well as keywords that demonstrated that the visitor was looking specifically for the product that they sell, such as “whole house water filtration systems.”  We started looking at the top landing pages that these late stage keywords were driving prospects to, and provided recommendations that could help convert this specific traffic segment.

The Test…

originalhomeThis is the original form on their homepage (click image to enlarge). The late stage visitor wants to simply find the right product for their needs, find out price, and purchase.

LifeSource Water doesn’t feature pricing on their site because their potential customer cannot effectively decide what unit is right for their needs without an expert’s guidance.  Instead, the potential customer fills out a lead generation form and a water treatment expert will contact them.  After a phone call, they will set up an appointment to actually go out to the potential customer’s home to assess their specific situation and then suggest the right product for their needs.  LifeSource is therefore looking to increase the number of qualified leads on their website.

The form on their homepage is the main action the late stage visitor would be looking to take in order to get their questions answered.  The original version of the form didn’t stand out effectively and didn’t use language to entice the visitor to fill out their contact information.  We recommended that they add a background color, and improve the copy on the form and in the call to action.

The Results…

new homeThis is the new homepage form that they tested against the original (click to enlarge).

GWO results-march29thIn less than 30 days of testing, the results demonstrate a 192% increase in lead conversion rate. (What could you do with 200% more leads?)  The client will be closing this test out with full confidence that their new lead form will continue to impact their conversion rate without sacrificing lead quality.

If you’re a lead generation site, you should use these tips to drive the improvements you make to your site and to help you decide what to test. They’re free, as always :)

What can you learn from this test?

1) Start by breaking out your traffic sources, and then separate each channel into early, middle and late stage traffic.

2) Then, find out where your late stage traffic is landing.

3) Determine what their motivations and needs are in late stage and come up with hypotheses on what calls to action you can feature directly on these landing pages to move these visitors forward towards taking the conversion action.

4) Once you’ve got your educated guess, run a test to prove or disprove your hypothesis.  Whether the test wins or loses, you’ll gain tremendous insights into your visitors’ behavior.

Add Your Comments

Comments (48)

  1. Great example, Melissa.

    It’s good to see how they got very good results by tuning what they already had – in contrast to spending a lot on a total redesign and seeing nothing.

    I wonder if they are going to try mentioning prices – and see what happens. Could mean fewer but higher quality leads.

  2. What a difference with a simple change. Watching traffic closely and testing all stages is very essential. Would giving a more prominent title to the form make a difference?

  3. I really liked. I wish you good work

  4. It’s amazing how quickly you can see an improvement using your techniques.

  5. Great way to test. Those were some great results. I wish I could get results like that from a single test.

  6. is it a free service? can i use it on my blog for free??

  7. Great example, and great results. I am going to try to do this for my own websites. More leads = more money

  8. Thank you for this article.
    Nice informations ;)

  9. Great full article for newbie like me..tank’s

  10. Great stuff. It is harder for some of us to identify what stages buyers are in, or what stage anybody is in for that matter. I have tried google analytics and other basic traffic tools, but they can only tell me where traffic come from, and not really what stage they are in.

  11. Hard to get data from late stage buying behavior unless you separate your content or pages out to different stage and use them as the marker

  12. If you can target your late stage traffic, it is great because their conversion probabliity is higher. Part of it is to use their referral. Eg, coming from certain keywords can hint at a buyers stage.

  13. Sweet, this is some great food for thought, thank you.

  14. [...] Testing Late Stage Traffic Improves Conversion Rates Quickly Published: April 3, 2010 Source: Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow, Inc If you’ve been following our blog, you have probably read by now that we start working with our clients by first understanding their data. We look at their top-performing marketing channels and segment each t… [...]

  15. “We recommended that they add a background color, and improve the copy on the form and in the call to action.” This is really a great tip! Thanks for sharing it and for free :)

  16. Is Google Analytics sufficient to track late stage traffic source through to conversion or do you guys use some other tool?
    thanks

  17. I also want to know if this is free!!

  18. Forms to complete should be presented when appropriate based upon the conditions you have defined.
    Using a popup or overlay allows you presenting the best suited form at the best suited moment.

  19. Your article and the example are really great.
    We can see that a small point can significally increase the lead conversion rate. So it is very important to do test, test and test again.

  20. A great example on how to test small things that make a great difference in leads

  21. I have always said that if you want to test something you need to have the freedom to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to test different early, middle, and late stage conversion techniques before implementation.

  22. I would wager that the biggest difference came from changing, “please contact me,” to “get expert advice.” People want expert advice, but they don’t want people to bother them.

    Good work.

  23. Great case study, I see some options for doing similar things to another e-commerce site I’m running, so thanks for pointing the way.

  24. Great article and looking forward to implementing this on our site.

  25. Congrats on the highly successful experiment. I’m always amazed at how small the changes need to be to create massive improvements.

    So many websites make the late stage prospects jump through a myriad of hoops and frustrate them.

  26. Melissa, nice post. We are in the process of mapping out this exact process. Post is very timely. thanks.

  27. Hi Mark,

    I am writing just to introduce myself. My name is Nutria, and I also have a blog in the business and marketing niche.

    I found your content very interesting, and I will definitely be recommending it to my readers.

    Best wishes,
    Nutria

  28. Life source is lucky to have you guys, and it looks like you really improved your clients late stage conversions!

  29. Excellent Job dear

    relay good view

    k thanks

  30. i have done some late tests as well with great results. some simple changes and mostly cosmetic increased conversions big time. thank you for the article and making me think what else i can test :)

  31. Once you’ve identified the needs of your customer, it becomes much easier to work with them and that is a good strategy that you ace at!

  32. [...] my last post, I shared a test we ran for one of our clients, LifeSource Water, where we helped them increase their conversion rate on [...]

  33. [...] reading my colleague Melissa Burdon’s last two posts about impressive testing wins with a client, I thought it would be fun to discuss the amazing [...]

  34. I am always looking for ways to increase conversion and often overlook the obvious, color. Thanks for the simple idea.

  35. [...] [...]

  36. I would say that people looking for info are more early stage, products always tend to be late.

  37. Excellent! Great way to test. Those were some great results. I wish I could get results like that from a single test.

  38. We will try it step by step, thanks.
    Find out where your late stage traffic is landing, very important.

  39. Helal olsun valla ne güzel yazmış yaaa tebrikler

    10.Sınıf Coğrafya Kitabı Cevapları

    10.Sınıf Coğrafya Kitabı Cevapları

  40. I actually know of someone who actually have customized pages or text based on the search keywords of a visitor. Was pretty advanced stuff.

  41. [...] my last post, I shared a test we ran for one of our clients, LifeSource Water, where we helped them [...]

  42. Late stage traffic isn’t near as utilized as other stages. Everybody worried about traffic, but how are you converting what you already have?

  43. Hey Melissa, great post! It is amazing to see that such simple changes can really improve the conversion rates. Have checked out the 5 simple tips and will certainly be applying them. All the best.

  44. [...] View the original article here Tags: conversion, improve, later, password, quickly, rates [...]

  45. Yea I know someone as well who actually had customized page keywords based on the search keywords of a visitor. Still learning a lot about SEO but its a great way to add additional keywords to your site.

  46. Great stuff. It is harder for some of us to identify what stages buyers are in, or what stage anybody is in for that matter. I have tried google analytics and other basic traffic tools, but they can only tell me where traffic come from, and not really what stage they are in.
    ..

  47. I have always said that if you want to test something you need to have the freedom to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to test different early, middle, and late stage conversion techniques before implementation.
    .

  48. Nice article! Um, I must add though that the content appears to be designed for experienced SEO users and not some one who is running a product, or service based business. In order to really achieve optimization regardless of where you are in your campaign, we must always consider our primary role and if necessary ensure your strategy includes SEO marketing services.

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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