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VWO BLOG

on Conversion Rate Optimization

The split testing campaign I am going to talk about in today’s case study was named the “crazy minimal homepage” campaign. The change was no less crazy; the company decided to wipe off their entire homepage and show just the sign-up form.

The Company

TheHOTH is a white label SEO service company. They provide link building services for agencies and SEO re-sellers. On their website’s original homepage, they have a video & a sign-up form (above the fold), customer logos, testimonials as well as other necessary and good-to-have elements.

Here is how their original homepage looks:

thehoth_original_homepage

The Problem

TheHOTH was getting a decent amount of traffic on their homepage but their conversions were pretty low. They tested their headline and added / removed some page elements among other changes. But nothing brought them significant results.

The Research

They decided to dig some data to understand about the people who were signing up for an account. The analysis showed them that most of their sign-ups were coming from referrals, word-of-mouth and direct search.

The Hypothesis

The test hypothesis was that eliminating everything from the homepage and keeping just the sign-up form on the page would increase conversion of visitors to account sign-ups. They wanted to test this, as a substantial portion of visitors coming to their website were already familiar with the brand.

The Test

The company setup a split test with VWO and the traffic was split between 2 versions of the homepage: the original and the minimal homepage with only the sign-up form. The test ran for 30 days and close to 3000 visitors became a part of the test.

Here is how the variation page looks:

variation_page

The Result

The minimal homepage increased account signups for TheHOTH from 1.39% to 13.13%. Needless to say, this was a home run for them.

comparison_image

Why The Minimal Homepage Worked

  • Broadly traffic coming to a website can be divided into 5 mediums: direct, search, social, referral and paid.
    Majority of visitors coming on TheHOTH website were from the direct and referral category. Hence, they had some background knowledge of the company already. This was also true for the social traffic. A very large portion of their search traffic also came from branded keywords (see data from Alexa below). Hence, visitors of the website had a certain level of trust in the brand already. Probably to learn more about the offering the visitors signed up for an account since no information about the service was present on the landing page.
thehoth.com_search_keywords_overview

Challenges with a Minimal Homepage

1) Quality of Leads

A major challenge with having such a design is that many people will enter in to understand the product or service and may later realize that it is not a good fit for them.

Alternatively, this would give the company a lot of leads to educate and convince about the product / service.

Clayton at TheHOTH (who setup this test) explained that they are also concerned about the quality of leads that would enter the system unaware or less aware of the service. They’re solving this by adding more information after signup, reaching out to customers via phone & email, and implementing an educational auto-responder to deliver value to their signups.

2) Additional Pressure on Sales

More number of less quality leads would put an additional level of pressure on the sales department. They would have a hard time differentiating between the already motivated leads and those who entered just to understand the offering.

3) Low Trust

Since there is nothing except the sign-up form on the variation page, users have no way of finding out more about the company. This could lead to low trust.

It would be interesting to see the results of the test with a third variation that has the sign-up form on the left and a testimonial on the right hand side. (something like below)

Test suggestion for TheHOTH homepage

This was one interesting usage of VWO that came our way. I would really be interested in knowing your thoughts on why the crazy minimal homepage worked. And what do you think about it in general? Looking forward to hear from you in the comments section!

Author

Taruna is a Marketer at Visual Website Optimizer. She takes care of paid campaigns and is constantly on a search for interesting ways to promote VWO.

(3) Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Wow, that’s an almost 1000% increase in conversions!

    I wonder how many companies that have a similar traffic profile would benefit from this sort of radical change.

    Interesting to note that just because more people are converting, doesn’t necessarily mean more paying customers, and you make the point this can create more work for the sales team because leads haven’t self-qualified first.

    Incidentally, when I visited the HOTH site via a Google search I got an error before it showed the form.

  2. I think it’s quite logical they get a much higher optin rate. It’s a pure landing page with nothing else to do that signup. Since they landed on this page through relevant keywords or ads, people kind of know what it’s about.

    That said, I think their goal should not be to increase optin rate, but overall EPC per visitor and per signup. It’s quite “easy” to increase conversion on such a landing page. Remove any distraction, be blind and you can’t convert less than what they were doing anyway.

    Now, what will those who signup on the new variation do once they signed up? Will they be more likely to buy something or less likely because they simply have no idea what they signed up for?

    I would vote for the latest. So only tracking the effectiveness of the new variation further down the funnel would say if it’s a good variation. Otherwise it’s just getting more untargeted people in for the sake of it. Which is not what they want. So for such experiment I would say only complete funnel tracking is relevant.

  3. Interesting results. The original homepage was far too cluttered anyway though so I would have expected low a conversion rate with that.

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