So you’re trying to optimize your landing page for conversions, you’ve probably read a few articles on conversion rate optimization and maybe you’ve invested in some cool landing page generator or an A/B testing app to make a killer landing page.

Well, it turns out that there’s a huge source of conversion leakage that most people don’t realize. For the past few years if I wanted to increase my conversion rate I would always work on the traditional elements of a page that affect conversions:

  • The Headline (and sub-headline)
  • The Value Proposition
  • The Video/Picture/Background
  • The Visual Design
  • Trust Factors + Social Proof
  • The Call-To-Action

Well, those are all great elements to test and optimize… but you’re still missing the biggest factor (which happens to be the easiest to control)… the traffic!

Now — before you say “everyone knows higher quality and more targeted traffic will convert better… duh” that’s not what I’m talking about.

Getting a higher quality traffic source is one thing — today I want to talk about optimizing the traffic for conversions BEFORE they hit your landing page. It might sound confusing, but I’m about to break it down into a few simple tips:

Leading With The Value Proposition

Let’s think about two potential traffic sources. They are both from highly targeted, high-quality, sources. One is sent to your landing page from a banner ad that has a super high click-through-rate because you used high-contrasting colors, a great call to action, and a really open-ended or unique headline to get them to click.

The other traffic is coming from a similar source, but instead of relying on a high-CTR display banner to get as many clicks as possible, with this banner ad you just laid out the value proposition in straightforward and simple way.

Basically, we’re talking about utilizing copywriting + design to get as many clicks as possible from people who have no idea what the ad is about, versus people who are going to click on the banner ad only if they are 100% interested in what you have to offer.

In my testing, I’ve found that being as straightforward as possible leads to the highest conversions (and sales too!) in the long-run.

I split-tested a bunch of different landing pages, a bunch of different headlines, and a few different banner ad designs… and each and every time the simple landing page paired with the simple banner ad converted WAY higher than the complex/high-CTR banner with a surprising/”in your face” headline.

What’s The Point Of All This Work?

Okay, so now you know that I was testing out a few different landing pages and banners. Here’s how I got a squeeze page to convert at 52.71% on my first try (without optimizing the page at all!).

First off, I found my most profitable traffic source using my 80/20 method for web marketing. Then I put together a bunch of free eBooks (you could do this with other content, like videos or pictures… you just need to get creative) and started distributing them on related forums (aka. my content marketing method that saves time and money) and broadcast them to my social media networks.

Ok — so here’s the important part. Instead of sending cold traffic straight to my landing page — I made sure their their first impression of me and my brand/business was through free content.

The whole point of my content marketing is to throw value at potential leads/prospects BEFORE I try and get their information (be it an email or a sale). This plays upon the theme of reciprocity that is studied in social psychology AND it gives my brand a bit of social proof/trust. Basically if I give you something for free without asking for anything in return, you are much more likely to buy into my products/brand in the future because subconsciously you think you owe me something in return for all my free content.

The other element that this strategy really highlights is trust — by giving you a look into my content (and therefore my opinions/brand) you get a sense of who I am. Now, instead of me being some random marketer trying to sell you something, I’m a friend that has provided you with entertaining and valuable content. That lowers the normal barriers that people put up — to protect themselves from being scammed/sold something.

This is what the landing page (this was for traffic I was sending towards PageRankWorld, I give an example of a different niche where I’m promoting affiliate products later in the post to prove this method makes $$$ and grows your email list) looked like:

welcome gate squeeze page

Remember: This was just my first attempt — its got the basic… social proof, strong call-to-action, incentive, and strong branding/design… but its obviously not great/the most optimal page. (But it was still getting me over 52% opt-in rate).

The Call To Action

Ok — so remember, I was distributing some awesome content around the web (often times just packaging up my older content that pretty much no one had seen) and the key is that my calls to action were all within the content. Once again, I wasn’t using harsh marketing tactics to get clicks, I was using simple, straight to the point calls to action. For instance, “think this eBook is sweet, wait until you get on my mailing list to see some real marketing strategies.”

Another example would be “like this eBook, check out my free 7 Part Conversion Optimization Course.”

I would link to my landing page at the end of the eBook with these straight to the point CTA’s, which was converting super well.

Before I even optimized my landing pages I was getting that 52.71% conversion rate — for a squeeze page that collects double opt-in emails from (previously) cold traffic… that’s pretty awesome.

Now — the entire idea of this post is based around warming up traffic through free content giveaways, maybe social media interactions.. or really any creative way that you can think of. Take advantage of the free networking capabilities of the internet, and figure out ways to make more money from the same traffic sources… just by building a brand + network.

This method isn’t hard to implement, but it will take some extra time in the beginning.

Are you curious whether this method would work in other niches than internet marketing…? And are you curious if this method could actually be used to generate sales/profit?

But Brandon.. Can You Prove This Will Generates $$$?

Well, I’ve been testing out my method in a bunch of different niches, and each and every time it works out perfectly.

I’ve been getting a ~35% opt-in rate on a landing page that DIRECTLY LINKS to a sales page, once the user opt’s in… and I’ve been getting a ~2% conversion rate on the affiliate offer using this same cold traffic.

Basically, the biggest take-aways from this is that building a relationship (even if its small) with your traffic the moment before you ask for their email, and potentially their credit cards (like I did), results in a HUGE uptick in sales and overall profit.

I wanted to also test out free versus paid traffic for this study. So I bought a $100 banner ad in the same place I had been using my content marketing method to generate free traffic. The $100 banner ad generated ~150 clicks/day, and converted on my email opt-in at about 33% then went on to make about $12 in revenue. So I lost $88 to build about 30 new subscribers.

When I used a similar opt-in page, sending free traffic from people that had the option to receive a free eBook from me first… I had a 35% opt-in rate, and made ~$75 over a few days.

jvzoo commision report

Staggering results… they really surprised me, and proved that paid traffic isn’t always better than free traffic.

At least for this niche — building up a relationship turned out much more profitable than paying for a very expensive banner ad placement.

This is my aweber list snapshot ~110 Subscribers built from free traffic — creating passive income… and making me money on the front-end… and in the future on any other products I promote. Keep in mind I am sending a lot of “value” emails to keep the people interested and my strategy is to provide more value to my subscribers than they are giving me in the form of affiliate commissions. That way, everyone wins :)

aweber list building

If I had to guess — I would say that the reason my opt-in rate for this niche, where I was making money was lower than my PageRankWorld opt-in rate (at ~52%) because I was offering more free value to my PageRankWorld landing page without asking for any sales at all.

But What About Fancy Copywriting Tactics…

Traditionally, annoying and dodgy marketing tactics are talked about on forums all over — and people say how having a red, bold, all uppercase headline filled with edgy copywriting tend to convert higher than simple ones.

Maybe that works in some markets — but I think the times are changing. The next time you are testing out a sales page design, display advertising, or even affiliate marketing, test out a simple and straight to the point landing page… I think you’ll be surprised with the results.

Do you have any experience with a simple landing page that was your highest converting option?