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140% Increase in Conversions


#1

A recent thread mentioned an article that talks about increasing conversions by 140% on a SaaS product homepage. I read the article the other day and I’ve been thinking about it since then and I wanted to share a few thoughts on it.

On the long-form sales page for SaaS products, let me first say that I don’t have a problem with long-form sales pages. I think they have a place and can be valuable. But I have an issue with the type of content/article that showed us of the 140% increase.

140% is a lot. It’s a big number. While the math is true, the article revealed the 140% change was an increase in the conversion rate from .25% to .60%. Clearly the focus is on the 140% because the actual conversion rate just doesn’t have the same impact as saying 140% does. But at .25% conversion, almost anything can be modified to increase that. More importantly, she also reveals the .25% isn’t even accurate. It’s so low because they’re not filtering member sign-ins and some other junk traffic. So what’s the actual number and the actual increase? We don’t know. Additionally, the article mentions that historically the conversion rate has been under 1% but recently over the summer it’s dropped to .25%. In my mind, the fact that historical conversion is higher and the summer and has recently shown a decrease in conversions, doesn’t necessarily mean its a permanent decrease in conversions. Could this be a seasonal or cyclical impact in conversions? Thus, an increase in conversions after some changes can’t be correlated directly to those changes without more data. You with me? Bottom line - I don’t trust the numbers as presented. I can’t see a clear picture, so I can’t map that to an outcome.

In order for me to trust an article built on numbers, I need to understand them. The pattern this article follows is one in which the author extolls the benefits of something they’ve done by showing us numbers as proof that you should do it to. Big numbers attract attention, long-form pushes lots of words and content at you to increase perceived value, but in the end the article is a vehicle - it’s a sales tool for a product. In this case its a workshop where you can learn techniques like the one that created this new homepage. There are good points in the article, but the goal is not to deliver that knowledge. If it was, it would be written very differently. The goal is to get you hooked and interested. Can I get a 140% increase too?? The knowledge, hopefully actionable, get’s delivered when you pony up $1500 for two days of training.

In the example, the redesign and rewrite of the page create an A/B test of unmeasurable proportions. First, we’re unsure of the original conversation rate. Second, the increase of 140% can’t be tied directly to any specific change, because there are so many changes. So it’s not fruitful for someone to treat this as advice and attempt to replicate the 140% success. There are some actionable steps, but doing them all at the same time won’t tell you which ones worked and which didn’t.

I guess, what I’m saying in the end is - rewrite your content if you want to, create long-form sales pages to drive your customers to your sales funnel. But don’t let yourself get sucked into the “I want that result too!” mindset based on an article or slidedeck, unless you can find clear actionable steps that detail analysis and proof. If you can find that, implement and track the numbers to see if your theories hold true. If they do, over time you’ll get better and better at refining conversions and hitting your goals. If they don’t, you go back and do it again and get better at finding proof.


#2

You are right. There was another similar case lately, sporting 310% of increase in conversions - which usually happens only when you are under 1% from the start.

Some time ago Business of Software also sported this fab talk by Jason Cohen on how data can deceive you and it talks about how often just the error margins in measuring conversion rate is bigger than the measured difference.

I don’t have troubles believing that some improvement happened there (It was Patrick’s post and he was consulting on the case). But whether it could have been caused by something else… who knows?

When it comes to improving one’s business “I want that result too!”-thinking doesn’t really work, even if there would be foolproof results that it works for someone else. What converts for one audience may work lousily for other. I do think that it’s more important to understand your audience and connect with them. The sales page format is just a format, a way to deliver the message.


#3

I took a different lesson from Amy’s post. This is not about numbers (though she’s understandably excited about them), this is about not being complacent even when the success seems has been achieved.

They did not pay attention to conversion optimization because the revenue was good; they only woke up when churn started to reduce their profits. This is the main mistake and the main lesson to be learned from the case.

As for 140% or 40%, long copy or short copy… who cares? This is not my site.


#4

Yep, I would go so far as to say that when it comes to optimizing growth you can only learn methodologies, and get ideas for tests. Everybody’s situation is different. Maybe long form worked for freckle but that doesn’t mean it’ll work for anyone else.