Review: CXL Institute Mini-degree in Growth Marketing 6/12
Another week in lockdown, another blog post. :)
This is my review of the 6th week at the CKL Institute Mini-degree in Growth Marketing.
This week I’m sharing my learnings from the Landing Page Optimization course by Michael Aagaard, who is an internationally recognized CRO expert and speaker. His 10-hour course covers his comprehensive step-by-step landing page optimization process, numerous case studies, practical tips, and lots of examples of good and bad landing page experiences with optimization suggestions.
Aagaard’s passion for conversion optimization is infectious and it really shows in the way he delivers the lessons. This, along with the well-designed presentations, makes the course super fun and easy-to-follow.
This course is marked as legacy in the CXL Institute with a note that the production standards of the institute have been significantly improved since it’s been recorded. As for me, it didn’t bother me even slightly that the course has not been recorded in the studio because the delivery and quality of the material were great.
If you’d like to experience Aagaard’s great teaching style, check out his upcoming webinar on 5 common pitfalls that kill conversion.
Below, I’m sharing my top 6 learnings from the course.
- Always remember to look at the landing page experience as a part of the bigger picture.
The first lesson in the course is called Understanding The Landing Page Experience. Aagaard explains why it’s important to always treat landing page experience as a piece in a much bigger puzzle which includes the factors such as what visitor groups land on the page (their demographics, traffic source, device, locations), what ads or emails they’ve seen, and what their next steps in the journey are. These things largely influence your landing page messaging and structure, but it’s easy to lose track of them when focusing on optimizing a single page (even if you’ve looked at these initially).
2. Testing doesn’t make you scientific, the process does.
In the past years, A/B testing has gained momentum, you might have come across the headlines like these:
- “If you’re not A/B testing you’re losing money”
- ‘The more tests, the better”
- “Why you should follow Facebook and A/B test everything”
While split testing is generally a good idea for most big-traffic websites, it can be difficult to get meaningful results from split tests on websites with small traffic. Aagaard explains that in such cases, one will gain much better results by following a structured conversion optimization process. He also stresses that doing proper research is far more important than having an ability to test, so don’t be afraid to dismiss split testing altogether when needed.
3. Leverage the Framing and Priming Effects.
In the Psychology and Neuroscience Fundamentals lesson, Aagaard shares some of the fundamental principles of human decision making and how they can be used in landing page optimizations. Among these principles, I’ve learned about the Framing effect which means that human choices are influenced by the way they are framed through different wordings, settings, and situations. A good example of this is that when choosing between these two options “80% lean ground beef” and “20% fat ground beef”, most people will be more likely to choose the first option even though both options are identical. This happens because the first option is framed as more positive.
Another relevant effect to be aware of is the Priming Effect, which describes how some words or ideas can prompt other ideas later on without our conscious awareness. A good example of this is that the word “nurse” is recognized more quickly following the word “doctor” than following the word “bread” (this is just one of the examples of priming, there are several ways this phenomenon can appear).
Being aware of this effect helps to put in the perspective your messaging on the page, and how mentioning some things can trigger unexpected reactions. For instance, mentioning the word ‘spam’ on your landing page can trigger negative associations even though you’re saying ‘We will not spam you’. You can learn more about the applications of priming in this article.
4. Long landing pages can significantly outperform short ones.
As a marketer, I’m constantly striving to make each piece of content, be it an ad, email, or landing page as short and concise as possible. We’re being constantly reminded about short attention spans and the need for brevity in the digital environment. With all of that in mind, long-form landing pages seem like the thing of the past.
Aagaard reminds that while brevity is important, in some cases, long-form landing pages still outperform short ones (and shares his case studies on this) and it’s important to not lose track of the key objective — to provide as much information as the user needs to make the buying decision.
5. Build an information hierarchy structure for your page early on.
According to Aagaard, “a logical and well-structured information hierarchy is the backbone of any high-converting landing page”. He shares his ‘working backward approach’ which is based on these three pillars:
- Answer Questions
- Reinforce Motivation
- Address Barriers
In a nutshell, Aagaard recommends starting with your conversion goal (fill in a form, click to the pricing page, download the pdf, etc.) and listing the key questions, motivation and barriers that the visitor might have at this stage and how these could be addressed on the page. The next step is to repeat the same exercise for other key sections on the page: offer, brand, and intro. This is a simple yet effective exercise, which I’ve found really helpful to get a rough structure of the content that should be on the page early on.
6. Treat your form as a micro-experience, which should make sense on its own.
Aagaard stresses that it’s important to remember that some users might not read the full content on the page and scroll directly to the form. That’s why form headline, supplementary text, labels, and buttons should be very clear and make sense for someone who hasn’t necessarily read the whole page content.
As all the previous week studying the material from the CXL Institute Mini-degree in Growth marketing I can only say, the whole course is of great quality, very well structured and very informative. I can’t recommend it more to anyone who wants to learn more about the Landing page optimisation.