This article will help you:
  • Come up with ideas for your B2B (business-to-business) or lead generation site A/B tests
  • Design tests based on these ideas

This article provides testing ideas for elements commonly found on lead generation sites. You may want to run these experiments using Optimizely on your site. For each example, we've provided a common default example and an alternate concept, with ideas of what to test and how to measure.

How to use this guide

Consider this article a starting point for your optimization efforts. After all, experience optimization is a journey, not a destination. The tests you run will help you discover what works (or doesn't) for your visitors, so it's important to pair the ideas in this guide with research on your site or app's true opportunities and obstacles.

DO:

  • Use this guide as a starting point to identify opportunities for your site or app
  • Use the ideas from this guide that help you answer key questions about your users, or move key metrics
  • Pair the ideas we've presented in this guide with data from your analytics platforms and user feedback, so you run tests that explore identified issues

DON'T:

  • Use this guide without also looking at your qualitative and quantitative data
  • Try to test every idea in this guide
  • Use these test ideas verbatim without thinking about how to adapt them to your experience

If you're looking for other ideas, or you can pay it forward and help other optimizers, please share with our Optiverse Community!

Common goals for lead generation and B2B sites

B2B and lead generation sites have variable pathways as visitors research products and services, and eventually navigate to the leadgen form. Common flows include the following pages and goals:

  Content page Lead generation page Product page Home page
Primary and Secondary Goals
  • Video plays
  • and lead generation pageviews
  • Case study clicks
  • Contact us clicks
  • Time > 30 seconds
  • Form conversion rate
  • Form error rate
  • Per form field
    • Attempt rate
    • Successful completion
  • Testimonial clicks and expands
  • Knowledge base pageviews
  • Product feature clicks or interactions
  • Contact us clicks
  • Time > 30 seconds
  • Product pageviews
  • Contact pageviews
  • Contact us clicks
  • Searches submitted
  • Menu interactions
  • Sign ups
  • Logins
Monitoring Goals
  • Menu interactions
  • Home icon clicks
  • Scrolled down
  • Menu interactions
  • Home icon clicks
  • Scrolled down
  • Menu interactions
  • Home icon clicks
  • Scrolled down
  • Menu interactions
  • Home icon clicks
  • Scrolled down

Learn more about setting primary and secondary goals

Form page testing opportunities

Your form page is often the most important part of lead generation, and testing it can help to increase conversions.

Error Messaging

Easy-to-read error messaging is a critical part of form completion. You may lose conversions if you have error messages only at the top of the page, off to the side, or in any other place that’s easily missed. Text size changes are generally simple and can be setup in minutes. Other tests (like immediate validation) may be more complex but can pay off in the end.

Common Default:

The error messages show in small text below the form field. When there are several fields, this can be hard to read and hard to notice.

What to Test: 

  • Highlight the fields in obvious colors
  • Create a space for error messages immediately to the right of fields
  • Increase the size of error messaging text
  • Provide immediate validation

What to Measure:

  • Increase in conversion

Alternate Options:

Fields with are indicated with an alternate color and can’t be missed.

With immediate validation, sign-up buttons can be made inactive until all fields are validated. Fields in this example have an icon and text indicating if the information is valid and they clearly display immediately to the right of the field.

Consider: Review your analytics and - if possible - determine what percentage of your users are encountering error messages in the first place. If you can make it more clear for users what information is required before they encounter an error message you’re already ahead of the game. 

Title Language

Headline text should be straightforward and clear. However it also has the opportunity to inform, coax and inspire. Try a variety of types of language to see what works for your site. Title tests are almost always incredibly easy to set up using the visual editor with no coding experience needed.

Common Default:

 

The language is simple and self-explanatory but it does little to inspire users to continue.

What to Test:

  • Addition of a sub-headline
  • Language focusing on steps or time to complete the process (e.g. “one step,” “two steps,” “30 seconds”)
  • Color and style of text
  • Addition of information about what is required from the user

What to Measure:

  • Increase in conversion rate

Alternate Concepts:

The addition of a sub-headline can provide important details users may need to know.

The title clearly indicates this is the only step users need to take to complete the process.

This text incorporates language that might often be sub-headline text and makes it headline text in two succinct and clear statements. This opens up the line below for more marketing text. It’s also more likely to be read to to the bold lettering and text color.

Consider: What are the top questions users may have before submitting their personal information? Can you help answer these through large and obvious title language they’re likely to read?

Button Language

Button language should reflect what the user is most interested in doing . What works on your primary form completion page may be very different for a one-time landing page directed at a very specific audience. Title tests are almost always incredibly easy to set up using the visual editor with no coding experience needed. If your button happens to be an image, you can do an simple image replace.

Common Default:

What to Test:

  • Punctuation!
  • Timeliness (now)
  • Commitment
  • Branded language

Alternate Concepts:

Use language that communicates the step is done and what happens next. 

Optimizely has tested a variety of buttons to get people to try our platform. “Try it Now” has been one of our most consistently best performing variations. Punctuation (e.g. “!”), less committal language (e.g. “try” or “get started” vs. “sign up”) or branded terms can sometimes have an impact.

Consider: Set up segments and see if the same button that works for most people works for each segment as well. For example, users coming from a branded search may be more likely to convert on a branded button. They may also be more likely to convert on language like “Sign up” than someone who may have never heard of your company before. For them, using language like “try” may work better.

Number of Fields

Test after test consistently shows that fewer form fields greatly enhances the completion rate. What information is really required? Obviously your team wants to collect as much information as possible but since that comes at a cost, there’s a point where it no longer makes sense. 

Forms can almost always be tested without changes to your backend. Using some custom javascript in Optimizely, you can populate hidden fields with values the form will accept as valid.

Common Default:


This form requires fifteen inputs and asks for the user to consider additional checkboxes after the inputs. 

What to Test:

  • Remove a few form fields that aren’t essential (e.g. can address be replaced with zip code?)
  • Hide a few form fields and populate them behind the scenes

What to Measure:

  • Increase in conversion rate
  • Decrease in bounce rate (users may read more information on the page if fewer form fields are shown)

Alternate Concept:

 

This form only requires based information in four inputs.

Consider: In an often-cited case study, Expedia removed one form field that users commonly misunderstood and it resulted in a $12 Million per year increase in profit. How much are your company’s extra fields costing?

To learn how to hide form fields step-by-step and auto-populate hidden fields, check out this article on building a form test.

Field Size

Nobody wants to squint to see small fields that are squished together. Larger fields, with plenty of space between them often help form completion rates.

Common Default:

The fields are small and not stylized (white background, no rounded edges etc.)

What to Test:

  • Increase the size of the fields
  • Increase the spacing between the fields
  • Use an alternative background color for the fields
  • Stylize the fields with rounded edges

What to Measure:

  • Increase in conversion rate

Alternate Concept:

 

The fields are larger and have a slight gray background stylization with rounded edges. There is also a bit more padding between the fields which gives it a more user-friendly feel.

Consider: We won’t tell you that every tiny visual tweak to form fields is going to massively increase your conversion rate. But we’ve never seen larger fields with a bit more spacing have a negative impact (assuming it doesn’t change the overall layout of the page - like pushing the submit button below the fold) and it often helps. 

Remember that slight differences in form fields are often an indicator of modern sites whereas fields that aren’t stylized feel like they represent “legacy” products that existed before such customization on the web was possible.

This type of attention to detail affects user’s perceptions of your entire brand. It’s worth taking a few minutes to update your site and you should always measure the impact to report the value of your efforts. 

Number of Columns

Forms should be simple. Top-to-bottom is usually simpler than left-to-right, top-to-bottom. Users often miss fields that are in a separate column and even when they are clearly noticeable, a user’s first impression of a two column form is that it is more complicated. Using the visual editor and the “rearrange” function, this is an easy test to run with little-to-no technical expertise. 

Common Default:

The “Last Name” field is off to the right and may be easily missed by many users.

What to Test:

  • Move all form fields into one column
  • Use an alternate background color (from the rest of the page) behind form fields
  • Add a clear border around the form fields

What to Measure:

  • Increase in conversion rate

Alternate Concept:

The form fields are clearly stacked in a single column and are surrounded by dark background color (in contrast to the white on the rest of the page) which leaves no ambiguity about what has to be completed before continuing. 

Consider: Many users use the keyboard “Tab” to go from one field to the next. If you have two columns and it tabs to the second column, they may be confused and not see it. If the tab goes to the field below (i.e. First Name to Email Address instead of Last Name), it doesn’t make logical sense if the first two fields are related.

Value Props

Simply because a user has arrived at your form, doesn’t mean they’re convinced they should complete it. Reminding these users of your company’s top value props can be the difference between converting and not. A test like this is easy to set up with simple text additions. Additionally, you can test a variety of value props and learn which are most impactful to users.

Common Default:

No value props are shown on the page giving no additional reasons or final “hooks” to get users to complete the form. 

What to Test:

  • Add a list of bulleted value props
  • Add graphics or icons that represent each of the value props 

What to Measure:

  • Increase in conversion rate


Alternate Concept:

An intro paragraph, a screenshot (albeit small), and bulleted value props are displayed.

Consider: Set up segments, in particular looking at new and return visitors. Often, users who have been to the site before (or recently) are more likely to submit a form with less information while new users might prefer to see more information since they may know less about your company or your offering. 

 

Process Description

Simply because a user has arrived at your form, doesn’t mean they’re convinced they should complete it. Reminding these users of your company’s top value props can be the difference between converting and not. A test like this is easy to set up with simple text additions. Additionally, you can test a variety of value props and learn which are most impactful to users.

Common Default:

This site expects the user to click “Send” without providing any indication about what the user can expect. This information may be displayed on the next page, but that won’t inspire the confidence necessary to get users there in the first place.

What to Test:

  • Add a “progress bar” (or similar) feature near the top of the page indicating what will come next.
  • Add a bulleted list clearly called out as “Next” steps, near the form.
  • Add text near the “Submit” button or at the top of the page that explains next steps.

What to Measure:

  • Increase in online conversion rate
  • Increase in offline conversion rate (see "Consider" section below)


Alternate Concept:

This is a simple form but above the form a clear process explains each step after submission. If the user hovers over each step (as shown in the last step) additional information about that step is shown.

Consider: Many lead generation sites have a final conversion metric that happens offline. If users understand the process upfront, when that next touch-point happens, it’s more likely to be a positive interaction since the user has been prepped beforehand.

Image Content

The user’s immediate emotional response to an image is a significant factor in whether or not he considers additional content on the page and takes action. Consider a variety of imagery to create the right emotional context for your page.

Common Default:

This auto insurance quote page doesn’t show any imagery to communicate the offering or a reason why someone should be interested in completing the form. 

What to Test:

  • Opposing emotional images (concern vs. excitement, serious vs. fun etc.)
  • Images with people
  • Close-up images vs. far away

What to Measure:

  • Increase in conversion rate
  • Decrease in bounce rate


Alternate Concepts:

This displays an image of an open road and a car as the background which helps to reinforce the offering.

This displays an image of a support representative communicating there is a friendly team ready to help.

This displays a local office giving a feeling that the company is local.

Consider: The types of images used will vary greatly depending on the business. However, consider reasons why users came to your site in the first place and ask if your imagery aligns with the objectives or motivations they have. 

Image Direction

People like to look at people. Eye movement naturally goes to people, and then in the direction that person’s attention is focused. If you don’t have a person in the image but an object, the same holds true: the object should be pointing toward the action you want users to take.

Common Default:

Little consideration has been given to the image focus area. This image drives attention away from the quote box.

What to Test:Use an image that points or looks toward the action you want the user to take.

What to Measure:

  • Increase in conversion rate
  • Decrease in bounce rate (as users consider the other content on the page)

Alternate Concepts:

A flipped image drives attention towards the quote box.

Obama appears to look at the form he wants you to complete.

Romney appears to point to the button he wants you to click.

Consider: Both the Obama and Romney campaigns in the 2012 election did extensive website testing. Is it any wonder Romney appears to point toward the “Sign Up Here” button on the homepage and Obama appears to look toward the donation form? 

Non-form pages

Although your form page is the most important vehicle for lead generation, you can run other tests that help you increase your conversions. 

Pricing Page

If your site asks a user to make some kind of selection prior to completing a form or a process, give him a preferred choice or a set of options to help ease his decision-making process. 

If you start by displaying default value amounts for prices, this can lead to a variety of additional tests determining what are the best price values to show to different audience segments. Combining both these elements (default values and segmentation) has the potential to make a significant and very quantifiable impact to your revenue.

Common Default:

The most popular plan is only called out with text and nothing distinguishes it visually.

What to Test:

  • Call out the most popular item with language
  • Call out the most popular item visually
  • Provide a set of default choices instead of manual entry (e.g. in the case of donations)

What to Measure:

  • Increase in conversion rate
  • Increase in AOV (average order value)

Alternate Concepts:


 

A variety of default value amounts are shown and the last option is a free-form “Other” field.

The most popular plan is called out visually with a shadow, larger text, and a larger button.

Consider: Language terms like “most popular” or “top choice” hint at content that has been “user validated” which makes it more appealing. In short, people think, “If this was good enough for someone else, it’s probably good enough for me.”

Homepage - Differentiators

Never underestimate the value of telling your users why your product or service is different from the competition. Make sure your differentiators stand out, provide some detail, and are delivering a unique message (i.e. each differentiator is different from the next).

Common Default:

 

This homepage attempts to have differentiators on the  homepage but they are near the bottom and the value prop for each is the same (i.e. “A lot of people use our product.”)

What to Test:

  • Show your differentiators near the top of the page
  • Add additional detail to your differentiators
  • Add some graphics to represent each differentiator

What to Measure:

  • Decrease in homepage bounce rate
  • Increase in visitors to the lead form page
  • Increase in lead form conversion

Alternate Concept:

This homepage clearly lays out six product features immediately below a title that differentiates their product from the competition. Each feature includes enough detail to understand what makes it important.


Consider: Run two (or more) separate A/B tests. One should focus on location while the other should focus on content and/or presentation. Generally, multivariate tests are not ideal if you’re moving content around on the page, so that’s why it’s good to test location separately. 

Chat Boxes

Optimizing your chat experience can take some effort but if your users utilize chat, it’s well worth the effort. Instead of focusing on getting as much information up-front as possible (which is generally a huge turn-off if you’re looking for an answer to a basic question) see if you can get that information through the chat itself after engagement has started.


Common Default:

This chat box asks for seven different inputs before the user can get engaged. 

What to Test:

  • Allow the user to start chatting immediately
  • Use fewer fields to begin chatting

What to Measure:

  • Increase in chat engagement
  • Increase in leads (if information is collected during the chat as opposed to upfront)
  • Increase in return visitors
  • Increase in pageviews (users who get their questions answered may view more pages)

Alternate Concept:

This chat box doesn’t ask the user for any information before they can get their question answered.

Consider: We understand you want to capture the information upfront. But that’s not necessarily the best approach for users and it will drive some away. Consider a targeted experience that only asks for users chat details if they are a return visitor or you have other indicators showing they may be highly motivated.

Chat Boxes Display

If your site is going to have chat, it either needs to be utilized or not distract the user from completing their goals. The Common Default example above is both easy to miss and makes it harder to read the rest of the content on the page.

Common Default:

This chat box is in the middle of the screen but it’s easy to miss. It’s flat and has similar button colors as the rest of the content on the page. Users may scroll and never notice it.


What to Test: Change the visual style of the chat box

What to Measure:

  • Increase in chat engagement
  • Increase in conversion

Alternate Concept:

This chat box is at the bottom of the screen but it has a drop-shadow, appears with a sound, and has an “x” close icon that sits just outside of the boxes borders. This makes it easy to see.

Consider: Believe it or not, the common default presented here may make some users think it’s a bug on your site. A few small visual changes can make all the difference.

 

Disclaimers and other information

This article provides Optimizely customers with a resource for learning about common testing ideas on lead gen and B2B websites. The specific examples were chosen at random from Optimizely customers and non-customers alike. The examples are purely a representation of what could be tested and are not necessarily representative of actual tests that have been run. No explicit test data has been shared without the explicit consent of the customers.