Hillsdale College

How adding credibility and clarity to the landing page affects conversion

Experiment ID: #11669

Hillsdale College

Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College is an independent liberal arts college with a student body of about 1,400. Hillsdale’s educational mission rests upon two principles: academic excellence and institutional independence. The College does not accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies for any of its operations.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 02/18/2014 - 03/27/2014

The Acquire The Fire site is a WordPress multi-page installation that gave the user plenty of options: get resources, find out more about the ministry, see the latest list of tour dates, and access to the store (which sold curriculum, merchandise, and other non-ticket items). Sometimes, access to all of multiple pages is a good thing — it encourages users to spend more time on the site and learn more about the ministry. However, we hypothesized that this could lead to what we call “unsupervised thinking” — by allowing users to wander all over the site, we give them more opportunities to get distracted from the ultimate goal. We needed to be able to guide them down the “path of righteousness” that leads to conversion.

We wanted to create an experiment that helps determine what motivates their customers in order to increase their overall conversion rate.

Research Question

Which landing page produces the the greatest conversion rate to customers for their conferences?


C: About the Conference
T1: About the Experience


 Treatment NameConv. RateRelative DifferenceConfidence
C: About the Conference 0.68%
T1: About the Experience 0.92%34.7% 94.7%

This experiment has a required sample size of 11,681 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 25,555, and the level of confidence is not above 95% the experiment results are not valid.

Key Learnings

After just under a month of testing, this landing page delivered a 35% lift in visitor conversion! Additionally, the name acquisition offers grew Teen Mania’s email list size by 13%. This page was a resounding success, and taught us several things about Teen Mania customers:

1. Credibility matters. There are a lot of youth evangelism events out there, but few of them have the endorsements, coverage, and credibility that Acquire The Fire has. This needs to be up front and repeated throughout the value proposition.

2. Buying tickets is a big decision. Our customers are generally buying tickets for a large group and want to make a good decision with their budget dollars. The more that we can show them what they will experience and reinforce that with quotes and testimonials from people who have experienced an Acquire The Fire event, the more we can reduce anxiety about the event itself.

3. Not all visitors are ready to buy. We know anecdotally that it can take time for youth pastors to get budget approval, parental approval, or youth signups. Because of these delays, not everyone who comes to this site is able to buy tickets. We need ways to engage these visitors and give them something of value in exchange for their email address (and the opportunity to market to them later).

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #11669

If you have any questions about this experiment or would like additional details not discussed above, please feel free to contact them directly.