Any well-oiled B2B marketing operation knows the importance of landing page optimization when it comes to increasing leads. In fact, there is perhaps no individual change that a marketer could make that has more of an impact on conversion rate than optimizing your landing pages and conversion paths.

So, why is it then so many marketers and business owners don’t look at their primary website in the same fashion? There’s so much more traffic going there than to your landing pages! In fact, only about half of the conversions touched by paid search happen on the first visit (Think with Google). You need to make it just as easy for a visitor to complete a high-value conversion on your website as it is on a landing page. So why not put a lead form prominently on your homepage? One of our advertisers did, and here’s what happened.

Case Study:  Apollo Mapping

Challenge:  Like many B2B advertisers, Apollo Mapping has a niche product with a low conversion rate and high CPA. They sell top-quality satellite imagery to (mostly) a professional audience, and the vast majority of web search is coming from a non-professional audience. There are some technically savvy markets we can target (like those that include the names of imagery satellites), but Apollo Mapping is trying to create a market for their inventory beyond what the industry typically targets.

This creates a huge dilemma for us – we’re dealing with a lot of search traffic with low conversion rates and very little conversion data for any particular keyword. As hard as it is to optimize for conversions, it’s even harder to control quality. For Apollo, conversions = information, and we needed a lot more information to be able to do either well.

Most of the generic traffic we’re bringing in for Apollo Mapping is going to the homepage of their website. We tested it against the other top-converting page on the site, and it won, so that wasn’t going to change. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for Apollo to find out what types of visitors we were driving, so we suggested adding a lead form right to the homepage. They agreed.

Before

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After

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Both screenshots are above the fold on my 21.5” monitor at 1920×1080 (1080p) resolution. The lead form is below the fold on my standard 14” laptop display.

Results

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Traffic is in blue in this chart, and conversions are in green. Can you guess at what point we added the lead form to the homepage?

Since adding the new form, lead conversions have improved 144% in the first 30 days, and that CPA is now less than half what it used to be. Apollo reports that call volume has not suffered at all.

Beyond bringing in many more potential new sales, the influx of new lead data has helped in a ton of ways:

  • Lead Quality – With the new leads coming in, we’ve been able to identify dozens of new searches to exclude from targeting who don’t fit the target audience.
  • Bid Optimization – More lead data helps us to bid more reliably and update bidding more often, so we’re able to hit lead cost targets with more confidence.
  • Mobile Devices – We don’t run the campaigns on mobile devices, and have had bad historic tablet performance. However, with the new homepage form, the tablet conversion rate is up 440%. We believe that’s due to the homepage now acting more like a dedicated landing page, limiting the amount of website navigation a tablet visitor has to do to find a form, which is more cumbersome for a touchscreen visitor.
  • Settings Optimization – Now that we’re collecting more conversion data, we can more quickly optimize bid adjustments for dayparting, age, and gender, as well as display placements.

Tips:  Here are some other tips if you are going to test a homepage lead form:

     1.  Track effects on quality – In Apollo Mapping’s case, we’re currently reviewing overall lead quality to determine what type of prospect tends to fill out the home page form vs. a deeper one elsewhere on the site. If quality is a concern for your operation, you might find that this is one way your audience diverges.

     2.  Sell the form – Explain why someone would fill it out and what to expect. This will help keep the amount of low-quality, “window shopper” conversions down.

     3. Test! – Test different locations on the page and different conversion events especially. Is someone landing on your homepage for the first time more likely to want to talk to a consultant or trial the software? There’s only one way to find out.

     4.  Consider a persistent form location – Having the form in the same position on all pages makes it that much more likely your visitors know what you want them to do and where to go to do it.

Summary:  If your organization has big lead growth ambition, then add a form to your homepage to generate more interactions. It will help you be able to more quickly and effectively optimize your marketing, while learning more about the audience you’re attracting. What do you have to lose?

Visit Apollo Mapping and utilize the quickest and easiest high and medium resolution image search engine in the world.