How emotive landing page copy impacts email acquisition rate Experiment ID: #7048

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: 7/10/2017 - 7/31/2017

Hillsdale College previously found that using an emotive headline on their American Heritage course signup page increased email acquisition by 168%. This success taught a valuable lesson about landing page headlines: It is better to orient the language around what the course does for the user, rather than a particular belief. They were curious if the same principle applied to landing page copy below the headline. They created a treatment and launched a test to find out.

Research Question

Will emotive landing page copy increase email acquisition?


C: Control
T1: Treatment 1


Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: Control 21.2%
T1: Treatment 1 24.1% 13.5% 95.3%

This experiment has a required sample size of 1,645 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 3,395, and the level of confidence is above 95% the experiment results are valid.

Flux Metrics Affected

The Flux Metrics analyze the three primary metrics that affect revenue (traffic, conversion rate, and average gift). This experiment produced the following results:

    0% increase in traffic
× 13.5% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

This teaches us that visitors are more responsive with offers that appear to connect better with personal interests and/or beliefs (i.e. relevance).  The copy achieved this by (1) addressed the opposition and (2) directly pulled the viewer to the “good guys” side.

It also illustrates the benefit of focusing the copy on the why rather than the what of the course once the reader has committed to reading further than the headline.

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Experiment Documented by...

Kevin Peters

Kevin is the Chief Technology Officer at NextAfter. If you have any questions about this experiment or would like additional details not discussed above, please feel free to contact them directly.