Early results: the paid/free landing page

WhatCounts has been testing a new landing page format for our eBook based on the feedback given to us in the past by audience members.

The Background

One of the pieces of feedback we’ve received when publishing our eBooks and white papers is, “Why do I need to fill out this form just to download a PDF?” Most people recognize that the form data will lead to a call or email from one of our business development managers, and that may make them reticent to complete a form.

The Hypothesis

By offering a paid option for site visitors with no registration requirements (using Amazon’s Kindle store), we would increase the conversation rate of our eBook downloads by giving people an option to vote with their wallets against long forms:

A free download landing page.

The Data

Over the last 10 days, 1,231 people have visited the landing page offering both options. Of those, 504 chose to fill out the form, while 12 chose the paid option, for an initial action rate of 42%. Of those 12, 3 actually bought the book on Amazon. Of the 504, 321 completed the form (64% completion rate), giving the page a combined conversion rate of 26.32%.

Here’s the shocker: our average conversion rate is around 10% for other landing pages, which makes this dual-choice option 2.6x more compelling to visitors. According to various different marketing firms, the average conversion rate for a focused, targeted B2B landing page is about 12%, so having a 26% conversion rate is more than double what other firms say are the industry average.

Possible Explanations

There are a couple of potential explanations for this behavior that we’ll need to test in subsequent information product launches:

1. By having a landing page with two buttons, it eases people into the conversion process instead of hitting them in the face with a long form that could be a turn-off.

2. The “Buy on Amazon” option not only gives people a choice, but it also reinforces the monetary value of the paper by putting a price tag on it, then gives people an escape from the purchase through the form. As they’re completing the form, some may be thinking, “Wow, I could save $10 just by filling out this form instead”.

We should be able to test this explanation with Website Optimizer and the display or absence of a price tag.

Initial Recommendation

Test the idea of having your white papers available for sale on Amazon and putting a price tag next to them. See if you get similar results and behaviors from your audience!

Christopher S. Penn

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4 Responses to "Early results: the paid/free landing page"
  1. Matt Fox: PersuasionTheory.com says:

    I discuss this in my workbook on customer resistance. When a customer experiences inertia, one of the types of resistance, giving them an option pulls them back into the decision process. By giving them a choice they begin to consider what would be best choice instead of “Should I do this?” When you add in the price on Amazon it helps sway the decision to the “free” option.

    I didn’t know Amazon allowed you to charge for your ebook while giving it away for free on your site. Now I’m going to look into this since my book is currently offered by opt-in only on my site. Thanks for the idea!

  2. AO says:

    What section is of your website is this article in? I’d like to find more like it. I came here from a newsletter and am looking to find more articles like this but don’t see it in your blog and can’t tell from the navigation where I am in the site.

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