Conversion Optimization: Are You Split Testing Headlines?

Split testingRegardless of whether you’re marketing products, services, or anything else, your landing pages contain several common elements. The first one that every visitor (and search engine!) sees is the headline.

A few weeks ago I came across an interesting post that described how the author’s split testing of headlines doubled his conversion rate (and earnings, respectively, too).

The content, and all other elements of his landing pages, remained the same. He only played with headlines:

This site has done well generating an average of $600 – $800 a month…

I alternated the four new headlines alongside my original headline for 4 weeks. The results were absolutely amazing! Every single headline I wrote increased the conversion over the original by 20%. My best headline beat the original by a whopping 122%…

For less than an hour of my time setting this up, I’ve increased my income by more than $800 a month [underlining mine].

Another source advises:

Since your headline is the first line of text that your visitors will read, the headline of your web page usually offers the biggest opportunity (about 80% of the opportunity) for improvements in conversion rate. Use headlines that clearly state the biggest benefit(s) that your product or service offers. Tell them exactly what they can get on your web page. Write 5-10 different headlines and test which one pulls the best response rate [underscoring added].

Was the doubling of conversion that unusual? Apparently not. Another article writes:

The heading is the number one item that is seen when people visit your site. Many times people choose to continue reading or leave, simply based on the headline. There have been instances where a headline change alone increased conversion from 300% to 500% [emphasis mine].

This is pretty amazing, and I’m surprised we don’t see more affiliate marketers writing about it. Or maybe this is one of those secrets people just prefer not to share in the open?

Related reading:

3 thoughts on “Conversion Optimization: Are You Split Testing Headlines?”

  1. Just discovered this post, and loved the suggested ideas on how exactly to tweak and test your headlines:

    * Try using emotional copy that will appeal to the user’s hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations.
    * Test customer-focused vs. company focused headline (example: We can make your lead prospecting easier vs. You can make your lead prospecting easier).
    * Split test using questions against declarative sentences.
    * Try using longer headlines that are loaded with benefits against shorter headlines that focus solely on setting up the conversion.
    * If you have headline copy that works well, then you can test the different font sizes and color.

  2. Geno, great article (as usual).

    In our experience, testing headlines is particularly valuable to companies because it allows then the validate their value proposition, which is absolutely strategic.

    We have several published case studies describing this. Here is one example, for EA’s The Sims™ 3 game, a life-simulation computer game, that used conversion rate optimization testing to identify the most compelling Value Proposition — and boosted game registrations by 128%! You can read it here

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