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3 Principles of High Converting Email Acquisition Page Design

Published by Tim Kachuriak

Your email acquisition page design should have just one goal: to facilitate the mental conversation between you and your visitor. If the design is too beautiful, it’s a distraction. If it’s too ugly, it’s a disgrace.

The goal is to strike a balance. The whole page design should focus intently on the offer that’s being communicated.

Using your email acquisition page design to clarify the header

Experiment #2684

In this example, we tested an element of copy – a header – that doubled as an element of design. We’ve noticed that it’s become somewhat of a website design standard to put a big block of imagery at the top of every page.

This page was for Hillsdale College as part of an email acquisition campaign. It uses a traditional page header that contains the headline for the landing page. Traffic was being driven to this page from a Facebook ad with a similar “We the People” design in the background and floating text to create congruency between them.

When we reviewed the page, we wondered if this design took up too much space. Was the key headline that conveyed the value proposition getting lost in the background?

To find out, we first removed the graphical header and created a new headline. This was Treatment 1.

Then, we created a second treatment. We still removed the graphical header, but kept the headline exactly the same as the original page. This was Treatment 2.

Experiment 2684 - Results

Treatment 1 produced a 6.6% increase in conversion rate, and Treatment 2 produced a 9.2% increase.

For whatever reason – mental friction, distraction, etc. – we saw a lift in performance with both treatments by removing the header entirely and moving the headline into the content area. We created a tighter connection with the value proposition. After this, we began testing the headlines themselves and chose the one that conveyed a stronger value proposition.

The difference in these conversion rate percentages may seem minimal, but they’re meaningful because these are easy changes. Not every experiment on your email acquisition page design needs to produce huge results. Small changes like this get you one step closer to better conversion.

Visually reinforcing the value proposition

Experiment #1937

When a site has minimal traffic to begin with, testing small differences may not be the best place to start optimizing your email acquisition page design. When you have low traffic and small changes in conversion, tests normally take too long to validate.

Let’s look at a radical redesign example. This is an events signup page for Heritage Action for America. Traffic is being driven to this page from multiple sources, but primarily from Facebook and email. The goal of the page is to get people to sign up to attend their event.Experiment 1937 - Control

As you can see, the initial page is text-heavy. It focuses on communicating the value of becoming an insider and gaining exclusive access to this special forum being held for the upcoming presidential election.

The treatment version of the page is radically different. We wondered if we could use images to enhance the value proposition for attending the event, so we added a full-color image of each candidate that would be present. Then we nuanced the copy and the primary value proposition to focus on accountability.

Experiment 1937 - Treatment

Even though a visitor may not want to see each of these candidates at the event, it does communicate more clearly the value of actually attending.

This change produced a 28.8% increase in the number of signups for the event.

Doing a radical redesign of your page might be a great place to begin increasing your conversions. Consider starting over with a completely different hypothesis than what the existing page is portraying, and then test the differences against each other. Of course, there is always the possibility that a hypothesis produces negative results.

Regardless of the outcome, you will be able to discover exactly why the hypothesis was right or wrong and adjust the page accordingly. Be sure to document each test result to learn from each one and to confidently make changes to optimize the page.

Increasing congruence between your email acquisition page design and your ads

Experiment #314

This is an email signup page we treated for the Hoover Institution. Traffic is being driven to this page from a Facebook ad in order to sign up to receive their newsletter, Strategika.

We used a long-form page and a two-column layout. As you can see, there’s a branded header, a clear call to action, and plenty of copy to communicate what a person will receive by signing up. Overall, the page was performing well, but we wanted to make it better.Experiment 314 - Control

Here is the Facebook ad that drove people to the signup page. As you can see, they look very different.

Strategika Facebook Ad

We wondered if that difference was causing cognitive friction for the visitor, and decided to test it. We created a treatment that follows the same stylistic approach as the ad to create congruency between them. We matched the background image of the ad, and took the brand – which was unfamiliar to the visitor – out of the headline. Then, we highlighted the credibility factors instead of showing unknown contributors. This treatment uses less copy, and follows the same design theme introduced by the ad.

Experiment 314 - Treatment

The treatment produced a 39.2% increase in the number of email signups.

Not only did it increase conversion on the page, but we also reduced the cost per subscriber by 86%! This is because we were sending paid traffic from Facebook advertising to this signup page. Every boost in performance, in terms of conversion, means that it costs less per subscriber to grow the email file.

The key insight we learned from this experiment is that the site visitor is more likely to respond when the ad and the landing page maintain a consistent visual experience.

Wrap Up…

A well-balanced email acquisition page design is important. Review your page, and make sure that the entire design focuses on the offer that is being communicated. If it doesn’t, consider a radical redesign of your signup page, or adding congruency between several pages. The goal of the design is to facilitate the mental conversation between you and your visitor.

Acquire more emails and donors through effective Facebook advertising

It’s one thing to have an effective email acquisition page design, but that alone doesn’t guarantee new leads. In order to capture new email addresses, you have to acquire the right traffic.

We’ve been perfecting a model that will help you acquire the right traffic by turning Facebook into your best source of new email addresses, donors, and dollars. This eBook, Turning Likes Into Donors, clearly unpacks that model and gives you everything you need to start your first Facebook Ad campaign today.

TurningLikesIntoDonors_coverIn this book, you’ll learn:

  • How to create a killer Facebook ad
  • How to target your organization’s best prospects
  • 7 elements of an effective email acquisition page
  • The 4 pillars of a strong value proposition to convert visitors to donors.

Get your free copy of Turning Likes Into Donors: The Definitive Guide to Facebook Advertising for Nonprofits by completing the form below.



About the author:

Tim Kachuriak

Tim won "Best Stage Presence" for the 1991 Pittsburgh Boys Choir.