5 Conversion Rate Experts Review A Wall Street Journal Landing Page

by 7 09/13/2012

The Wall Street Journal needs no introduction.

This landing page appeared when clicking on a Google AdWords ad triggered by the query ‘get financial news.’

Have a look at the landing page and what five Conversion Rate Optimization experts would test to improve the results for the Wall Street Journal.

See the live landing page here.
Wall Street Journal Landing Page

Brian Massey, Conversion ScientistWhat I Liked:

I like this page, because I know it works. WSJ has a thriving online business. What’s smart about this?

One price. Too many online papers offer three or more subscription levels and durations. Even a “stodgy” paper like the Journal uses a starburst to highlight the 50% savings. It’s right out of late-night infomercials, but it works.

They use a one-step purchase process, and the page isn’t intimidating. All of the elements of an effective landing page are here:

  • They show the product.
  • They use a minimum number of fields (notice that they don’t ask for CVV).
  • Form fields are stacked (notice that First and Last name are on separate lines.
  • Trust symbols are used (credit card logos, company logo). Reinforcing bullets are on the right.
  • Risk reversal is there in the form of their simple guarantee.

Other papers, steal this.

What I would change or test:

“Submit.” Is this the strongest call to action they could come up with? How about “Confirm Your Order” or something that tells me what is next. In all likelihood, they tested this, so it is possible that this is the best performing button. At least the color makes the button stand out.

Also, I would keep the promise of the header in the form: “Annual payments [sic] of $119 ($2.29 per week)”

~Brian Massey, Author of The Customer Creation Equation

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Naomi Niles, Intuitive DesignWhat I Liked:

  • I like that the benefits are clear and upfront. I can scan quickly if I’m in a rush.
  • Following that, I also like that the layout is clean and easy to scan. Each area has it’s own place which helps guide the eye more easily.
  • The colors are generally neutral and complimentary.

What I would change or test:

  • I find the offer a little confusing. Do I get 50% AND 4 weeks free? Or, do the 4 weeks free create the 50% discount? It might be worth testing with only one offer at a time to lessen the chances of confusion.
  • The PPC keywords “get financial news” don’t repeat anywhere. However, I’m assuming that people who are interested in financial news are already familiar with the Wall Street Journal. If that’s the case, it might be worth testing the Wall Street Journal’s logo in the heading area rather than leaving it at the very top of the page. Normally I wouldn’t recommend this since it will need an image rather than text for the headline, but I think it might be worth a test anyway
  • I’d try making the “satisfaction guaranteed” text a link and having it scroll down to the guarantee on the left side. The term itself doesn’t mean much unless it’s backed by more specific information and it’s possible that people will miss it on the left side.
  • It would be worth adding a short note about the satisfaction guarantee closer to the submit button if it can be done in a way that doesn’t distract from the rest of the content. It’s always daunting to sign-up for a new subscription and not be sure it’ll be easy to cancel if you’d like to.
  • Speaking of possible cancellation, an extra note about how cancellation works would be helpful to assure visitors. How can subscribers cancel? Can they do it quickly online, for example?

~Naomi Niles, Intuitive Designs

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Justin Rondeau, Which Test WonWhat I Liked:

I must say I really enjoy how this page stresses how much can be saved by subscribing to The Wall Street Journal. There is a visual badge as well as a text headline that tell me I can save ‘Over 50%’.

This is a very straight forward landing page that is hyper focused on selling a subscription of TWSJ. I think the layout is fantastic.

What I would change or test:

Since this page is so focused, I think it hurts some of the content. There is a small section about what is included on the left, utilizing VERY long bullet points. The idea of a bullet point is to be brief; this copy needs to be cleaned up. Some other ideas for content would include benefits of the subscription (not features) & testimonials from notable subscribers.

Buying online can cause anxiety in the buyer, since I am entering my credit card information on this page, I would like to make sure I am completely secure. I see the text ‘Our secure server software encrypts information to protect your transaction’, but that doesn’t do a whole lot for me. This is where trust seals could come in handy.

When I first looked at this page I wanted to start talking about the form section, I think my first impulse was ‘My god get that button up higher’. Though, after reading the form there is no good way to reduce content. It would be interesting to try a columned form where the delivery information is on the left hand side and the payment information is on the right hand side. In this case I would add ‘Step #’ in front of the sections to show they both need to be completed.

However, in general a vertical layout is optimal. I would only run this test if you don’t have any data (from usability or split tests) to support that generalization.

And to finish, I have always been an opponent of the term ‘Submit’ on a button, definitely try a new call to action. I have seen plenty of button copy tests to support the ousting of ‘Submit’ copy.

~Justin Rondeau, Which Test Won

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Joseph Seo, Wider Funnel MarketingWhat I Liked:

The eyeflow for this page is well executed; from the 50% off badge on the right hand corner to the page header indicating the main value proposition, and building on this with the bullet points is effective.

Font size and design association also supplement this section well. The left-hand column is also a good way to reduce anxiety or assuage any questions that a person may have prior to or as they are filling out the form.

What I would change or test:

There seems to be repetition of the term WSJ on the page.

It might make sense to add value driven statements about WSJ to replace an instance of this. I would also test different form options that are currently being employed by many organizations such as a tabbed or a step-by-step experience and see how this affects conversions.

The main image could also be singular in terms of what is being portrayed. Finally the left hand column areas could be moved to the right hand column conducive to a more traditional layout to see what effect this has when isolated. I would also test the “Submit” button with other call-to-action variations.

~Joseph Seo, WiderFunnel Marketing

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Rich Page, Website OptimizerWhat I Liked:

Great use of bullet points, and great use of seal to emphasize 50% off.

What I would change or test:

Test removing the form and moving to a separate page and instead focus this page on a better, larger call-to-action.

The submit button is very generic and other wording/colors should be tested to engage visitors better. If they keep the form on the page, there is too much small print which looks worrying, so test improving/removing that. Test emphasizing the ‘what subscribers get’ section more, as it is currently too small and hard to read. Test changing ‘journal guarantee’ to ‘money back guarantee’ instead,  which is more much more easily understood.

~Rich Page, Author of Conversion Optimization: An Hour a Day

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Did you notice some points that more than one expert mentioned?  Here are three:

  • Test different copy on the “Submit” button.
  • The starburst does a good job of drawing the eye to the 50% OFF offer.
  • Test moving the guarantee (risk reversal) closer to the form and offering more information about cancellation.

What are your impressions of this landing page from the Wall Street Journal?  Let us know in the comments!

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7 COMMENTS

Ilias Chelidonis

I would add

- social media sharing buttons
- photo of a businessman, i believe human element in such services is key

September 13, 2012 Reply

Joe Vlcek

What about some options here? I am a big fan of options so you can convert more people who might be looking some something different. In this case You have a term “get financial news” and a landing page that just shows newspapers. This is 2012. What about a digital option? Do I get full access to the WSJ online?

This page does a better job at offering options… https://services.wsj.com/Gryphon/jsp/retentionController.jsp?page=7014

Although, that page is lacking a great deal. Add the discount seals and they might have something.

Always know your traffic source and aks, “what are people looking for when they come from there?”

We have a client who sells hearing aids and he removed all of his in-the-ear hearing aids because he barely made money on them. He just wanted to focus on his more profitable products. He was bidding for a ton of keywords such as “digital hearing aids” and “hearing aids”. His conversions were suffereing, revenue was down and profits were down. I told him that half of his traffic might be specifically looking for in-the-ear hearing aids and he is already paying for that traffic. Why not have in-the-ear as another option since many people might specifically be looking for those? He put them back and his conversions, revenue and profits all jumped.

There were many other issues with the site that we fixed, but the point is; adding options helps conversions when visitors might be interested in those options. Just don’t over-do it and clutter the page.

September 14, 2012 Reply

Justin Rondeau

@Ilias – Great suggestions, however I wanted to add a few warnings before WSJ slaps on some Social Media Sharing buttons or new images.

1) Social Buttons, I would be careful with social media buttons on the site because it may muddle the call to action. Maybe some social buttons on the confirmation page? Something like ‘I just saved 50% on the WSJ, you can to’. By this time the visitor has converted and now you can start to get more out of them while they are still excited about the purchase and ready to evangelize your brand

2) Adding Images, specifically human images. While there are many tests and studies that support the addition of the human element, I would add these few warnings. First, avoid stock imagery, people will see through that and it can be detrimental to conversion on your LP. Second, don’t undermine the page’s message or functionality by adding a new image. Ideally what I would do is add testimonials from notable readers that include a small icon of their head shot.

September 14, 2012 Reply

Mike

Nice article and nice LP example. I like that it’s clear and concise. However, I do have a couple additional comments:

– the fonts are a bit small and can be a bit difficult to read in larger copy blocks
– Not sure why “street number” and “street name” are separate fields. Would recommend combining to one field.
– would recommending marking fileds as required
– 4 free weeks could use some clarification. Is the low cost like getting 4 weeks free, or can I cancel within 4 weeks and pay nothing?
– minor pet peeves of mine are the centering and spacing of elements. With the wide border, page feels off center (could it be optimized for tablet maybe?), and the hero (header) box is off center to the columns below.
– Would test flipping the directional layout of the newspapers, as they are leading my eye down off the page to the left, when I would want to direct the user down towards the form.

– Mike

September 18, 2012 Reply

    Russ Henneberry

    Good stuff Mike. I think out of all of the things you outlined, clarifying whether the cheap price creates a free 4 weeks or whether you actually aren’t charged for four weeks.

    September 18, 2012 Reply


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