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How We Increased Lead Form Conversions By 35% (The quick and non-techy way)

by Steve Young

A/B testing can be costly and frustrating.

If you aren’t careful, conversion testing can cost a ton of money and time  — particularly if you don’t have the technical expertise to make changes to your website.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Our company, SmartShoot, found a way to increase leads on our website very quickly and easily by testing the right thing.

Let me explain…

How to choose what to test (This is important)

Let me give you some context:

SmartShoot connects businesses and individuals with professional photographers and filmmakers.

For our business to succeed, we need businesses and individuals to do three major things:

  1. Fill out a Project Request Form
  2. Create an account
  3. Publish the Project Request

But, like many websites, we get a ton of traffic to our home page.  As a result the funnel often looks like this,

The conversion funnel before the test

Our goal is to get more people past step 2 — the Project Request Form.  You can see the form here.

So, we took a long, hard look at the Project Request Form.

And that’s when the debate started.  We couldn’t decide what to test.

Is the form too broad?  Too specific?  Should we add fields?  Remove fields?

It was daunting.  We could test 100’s of variations, burning money and time in engineering cost before we would see any ROI.

Frustrated, we went back to the data.  And that’s when we saw the low hanging fruit.  It was right in our face.

The homepage, like most websites, receives almost 5x the traffic that the request form does.

To have the quickest and largest impact on our lead form conversions, we won’t work on the page where the conversion occurs, but rather the page immediately before the conversion — the highly-trafficked home page.


Let me repeat that:  To increase conversions on Step 2 (the form), we decided to work on Step 1 (the home page).

Less complicated.  Less costly.  More ROI.

The Control (Our original home page)

When we initially launched SmartShoot, we looked at a few of our counterparts and they were ALL using “Post a Project” as the call-to-action on their websites.  Good enough for us.  Or so we thought.

This was our original home page:

Smartshoot Home Page

But after a few months we wanted to do better.

I remember thinking:

Posting a project is not something people want to do. Heck, it’s not something I want to do. It feels like work.

Customers want us to do the work.

So, we talked to our customers. We asked them about their pains and what they wanted from us.

Here’s what we heard:

  • We want quotes from vetted photographers and filmmakers
  • We want samples of their work
  • We do NOT want to sift through emails to see the quotes and sample work

To recap, our customers want quotes from photographers and filmmakers and need a service that has done the legwork of vetting and rating them.

Here’s what we tested and it couldn’t be simpler

So, we put it to the test.  The original, or control, was “POST A PROJECT” with the treatment or variation being “GET A QUOTE.”
Rather than spend months of time and thousands of dollars testing the Project Request Form, we opted to change 3 words on the main button of the home page.

This test would be cheaper, easier and quicker than messing with the request form.  Sweet.

The Results

First, let’s take a look at how well the new call-to-action improved traffic from the home page to the Project Request Form.

From the Homepage to the lead form page

In terms of getting users from the homepage to the request form, “Get a Quote” converted at 3.65% while “Post a Project” converted at 2.61%.

That’s a 40% improvement!  Holy cake pops!

That’s AMAZING!!!


To put that into perspective, for every 25 clicks that the “POST A PROJECT” call-to-action received, the “GET A QUOTE” call-to-action got 35 clicks.  Not too shabby for changing 3 words.

When we initially started the test I thought we’d be able to improve anywhere from 10-20% but never had I expected 40%.

But clicks aren’t what it’s all about.

Who cares how many clicks we got?

In our business, the real conversion is a “Published Request.”

How did the entire funnel perform with the new homepage call-to-action?

Hold on to your mouse, because this is going to be EPIC!

“Get a Quote” crushed “Post a Project” by 35%!

Not only was the “Get a Quote” button more effective at driving customers towards the request form, but it was also WAY more effective at driving customers through the entire funnel.


Final Words

Sure we’d love to test everything, but we must remember to weigh the possible ROI against reality.  Maybe it’s too technical, too costly or will take too long to test one area of your website.

If so, consider looking further up the funnel. You might find that you can work cheaper and more quickly there.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that the top of the funnel is a page with a lead form or the 1st step of a shopping cart.  But try looking further upstream from there.

You just might find some low hanging fruit.



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Steve Young

Steve Young is the Director of Product Marketing for SmartShoot, a marketplace that connects businesses and individuals with freelance photographers and videographers from around the world.

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  1. February 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for the great post neighbor!

  2. Dusty says:
    February 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    This reminds me of when I was working on a very large e-commerce site and my web analytics showed a large drop off of visitors at the EULA (End User License Agreement).

    The EULA real estate was very large, covering 3/4 of the web page and then it had scrolling bars on the sides.

    We shrunk the EULA scrolling window to just a very small window.

    Our abandonment rate dropped significantly.

    Our legalese was scaring off the public :}

  3. February 12, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Awesome results, Steve. We were thinking of A/B testing our CTA, now we’re definitely doing it soon.

    I see that it changed to “Get free quotes”. Is that one working even better?

    • Steve Young says:
      February 12, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Sylvain, “Get Free Quotes” is more representative of what we do. However, we haven’t tested it vs “Get a Quote”. Might be too similar to test.

      I just read your app marketing post. Great read!

      • February 12, 2013 at 9:41 am

        Thanks Steve 😉 We put some love into it.

        I was wondering that, because the post mentions “Get a quote” several times, which seems less appropriate.

        • Steve Young says:
          February 12, 2013 at 9:50 am

          The post is really well done.

          Re: “Get a Quote”. Agreed.

  4. February 12, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Hi Steve,

    What tool do you use for split testing?

    I use Optimizely and it’s automatic; I can split test literally anything on my website in minutes, without programming experience, so I was wondering what tool you use when you said split testing can cost a lot of time and money.

    Best Regards,

    • Russ Henneberry says:
      February 12, 2013 at 8:13 am

      Hi Bamidele,
      I have used Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer. They are both very good and inexpensive tools.

      I’ll let Steve speak for himself but I believe (in this article) he was referring to the cost of his time and the financial cost of reworking his complicated Project Request Form when a simple A/B test that changes only a few words on the home page was very effective.

    • Steve Young says:
      February 12, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Hey Bamidele, we used Google Experiments (previously called Google Website Optimizer). I’ve heard great things about Optimizely but have never used them.

      • February 12, 2013 at 9:55 am

        You might want to give Optimizely a try for a few weeks; you can try it for free for a month and like Russ said above, it’s inexpensive should you decide to use it.

        I’ve used Google Website Optimizer before and it’s technical indeed, I haven’t tried it after it became Google Experiments, but Optimizely is way better than what I used when it was GWO. For me, I didn’t even need to edit a line of code – I installed their WordPress plugin, copied a tracking code to the plugin and changes automatically reflected. Including image changes, header changes and things I wouldn’t have believed would have been possible to change without manually tweaking my design.

        Since you’re a huge fan of split testing, I think you’ll love Optimizely.

  5. Dan Norris says:
    February 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Hey Steve great result. May I ask how much traffic did you send to the page before and after to detmine that the increase was valid? I like the look of your site mate it looks nice.

    • Steve Young says:
      February 11, 2013 at 11:41 pm

      Dan, both pages received roughly 5,000 visits each.

      • Dan Norris says:
        February 12, 2013 at 1:47 am

        Great work thanks for that.

  6. Steve Young says:
    February 11, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    John, agreed! That’s why we decided to start with the page that required the least amount of technical work.

    • John Bolyard says:
      February 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      Steve – I’m doing a similar website for virtual assistants and the final conversion is to get the propsective client request a quote from a specific VA.

      I’m rethinking the home page based on your article – thanks!

  7. February 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    A great story and glad to see the results pay off!
    In 2011, Hurtigruten focused on the home page and shortened the initated order process. The results was a 173% increasee in initiated orders over night:

  8. John Bolyard says:
    February 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    That was worth reading! I’m working on a website for a client that I’m going to review again.

    A/B testing is so time consuming – this is worth looking at -!

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