CXL Conversion Rate Optimization: Landing Page Optimization Review

And just like that, I’m on my 6th week of studying CXL Institute’s Conversion Rate Optimization minidegree program. 

This week was pretty busy for me so I only got to go through Landing Page Optimization. The instructor for this course is Michael Aagard and it takes about 4 hours to go through the whole thing.

I’ll be sharing my insights and observations about this course. This course covers the basics,  research, and user psychology needed to optimize your landing page.

But first, let’s talk about what a landing page is.

Landing Page: Definition

Technically speaking, a landing page is a page where a visitor lands on. So you can consider the first page of a website or a single page to get email addresses a landing page.

A landing page is structured and designed to convert a stranger or target audience into a lead. It has a specific offer to persuade the person to sign up to opt into an email list.

Here are some definitions from the course:

  • It’s where a user lands on
  • It’s the first page the user sees after clicking on an ad
  • It’s a page that works and stands on its own regardless of the site or app
  • It’s focused on one conversion goal

A good landing page needs to follow up on the promise seen on the ad it’s connected to. Moreover, it needs to answer relevant questions, show clarity, and address user objections.

When there’s too much going on or the page is asking a lot of information or action on the part of the user, it won’t be effective.

Usually, the landing page experience goes through this path

Search→Ad→Landing Page→Form→Confirmation

People search for something on Google right? Then at the top of the search engine result pages (SERPs) you’ll see an ad for something. As soon as the user clicks, he or she gets taken to a landing page where he learns about the offer. Now, if the landing page is optimized, the person would opt into the email list or sign up in the form. 


Landing Page Optimization at a Glance

In the course, there are 6 steps to optimize the landing page:

  1. Conducting research
  2. Forming and validating a hypothesis
  3. Creating a treatment
  4. Starting an experiment
  5. Analyzing the data gathered
  6. Making a follow-up experiment


First, let’s talk about research. Research is the foundation of any landing page.

Now, there are two kinds of research done here. First, we have quantitative research which answers the questions “What?” and “Where?” do users leave the landing page without signing up on the form.

Second, we have qualitative research which answers “Why did the users exit the page without filling in the form?”

Fast Vs. Slow Thinking 

I think we touched upon these topics in previous posts but Michael wanted to show how these are important in landing page optimization.

Basically, we have two kinds of thinking: intuitive thinking and analytical thinking. For instance, for a math problem, it’s easy to answer 2×2 but it takes a while to compute 34 x25, right?

When it comes to the buying decision, most of us think quickly like will I buy this or not? (intuitive thinking) And when we do buy something, we need to justify it with logical reasons (analytical thinking).

Fast or intuitive thinking is automatic, subconscious, and in the moment. On the other hand, slow or analytical thinking takes a lot of effort, is logical, conscious, and involves planning ahead of time.

Michael then talks about the law of least effort. In short, we don’t like taking too much effort trying to understand something like for instance what a landing page is offering. We ask ourselves , “Is this worth my effort?”

Cognitive Biases

The instructor then shared some common cognitive biases such as priming, framing, and what you see is all there is.

Let’s start with priming. 

Priming states that exposing somebody to a stimulus influences his or her response to a subsequent stimulus. It’s like he’s getting himself or herself ready for what’s to come.

Next, there’s framing. Framing states that the way you present a message has a solid and direct impact on the way people perceive it.

He gave an example:

 Order Information and Prices vs. Get Information and Prices

The first headline is kind of vague and confusing, huh? But with the second one, it’s simple and clear. 

For this one, I would cite information hierarchy. The biggest and boldest font is what we see first. So, in our mind, it’s the most important one. Likewise, we don’t pay much attention to small letters. But please, still read the fine print.

Lastly, we have what you see is all there is. It’s like saying what you see get. This means you need to put all the information needed for the user to make a decision because they’d take it as is.

Dopamine and Cortisol

Dopamine is a feel good hormone. And in user psychology, people like it when their action is rewarded. This means you need to make sure that you deliver whatever it is you promise in your ad and in your form.

Meanwhile, cortisol is triggered when you’re stressed. If you make things difficult for the user, he or she may stop engaging with your site.


Final Thoughts

As with the previous courses I’ve taken, I enjoyed watching and learning about the lessons. They were organized and well presented.

I like that Michael really opened up Google Analytics to show where exactly you need to look to see what you need to improve. For instance, you need to take a look at the bounce rate and exit pages to understand better the what and where of your user’s actions.

However, I wish that the notes were a lot more detailed so that when you download them, you have a lot of information already. To be honest, I’m only more than halfway through this course but I can tell that it’s something that’s pretty handy to increase conversions. 

I love Michael’s energy and pace. He shares practical tips and his class is relatively easy to follow.


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