“Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
One of the most important skills an affiliate marketer needs to have is optimization. Optimization is simply the art of taking an unprofitable idea and making it profitable.
You can optimize all kinds of stuff. You can change your ads, headlines, landing pages, copy, offers and payouts. You can even split test affiliate networks and ad networks against each other. All of these tests are needed to make a campaign work better over time.
In short: If you can’t optimize – you’re not going to make it here.
Today I’m going to talk to you about Landing Pages – and how using a minimalist approach can open up a Galaxy of Optimization possibilities that you may not even know existed.
Optimization By Addition
When you think of Landing Page Optimization your first thought is usually going to be – addition. “What can I add to this page to make it convert better?”
And you would be correct to think this way. Adding things to your landing pages is a great way to improve performance.
- Add new headlines
- Add new images
- Add testimonials
- Add multiple CTAs
- Add secondary offers
- Add… Add… Add..
But what I want you to know is that you can also reverse this process and get great results as well.
I have a campaign running right now that has been optimized to death. I’ve added images, scripts, headlines and copy that have taken performance from a dismal –45% ROI to a respectable 70% ROI.
But then I hit the ‘Optimization Ceiling’.
This Optimization Ceiling is the point during every optimization effort where anything you add to the page makes it worse. This is where most marketers stop optimizing and move on to other things.
But you’re not done testing.
Optimization by Subtraction
When I hit the ‘Optimization Ceiling’ – I do what I call ‘The Minimal Test’.
‘The Minimal Test’ is an A/B test I do after a major round of optimizations where I put my best, highly optimized landing page up against a completely stripped down version of itself.
- I removed 99% of the images on the page
- I removed all of the fancy scripts I may have added
- I removed about 40% of the copy
- I removed everything but the essential copy, headline and call to action.
Guess what happened?
On my most recent ‘Minimal Test’ I discovered that most of the stuff that I’d added during testing wasn’t really helping at all.
Here’s what the results looked like:
- Optimized Page: CTR: 25% // ROI: 70%
- Minimal Page: CTR: 31% // ROI: 111%
Why did this happen?I have no idea – I learned a long time ago that when it comes to Marketing, you don’t ask questions. The Data always tells the truth and is the only answer you need.
One thought is that often during the optimization process, we make decisions too fast and incorrectly declare a winning page that isn’t really a winner.
And then we do it again.
In a sense, ‘The Minimal Test’ is a “reality check” to finalize your split testing and see if your optimizations really helped.
One-Step Reverse Optimization
You can also do what I call a ‘One-Step Reverse Optimization’ where you only remove one element at a time to see how it affects performance.
- Will your page work better WITHOUT the big red button you added?
- What if you remove the big image in the first paragraph?
Removing one thing at a time provides the same benefit as adding one thing at time. It takes longer but you’ll know exactly what element made the difference.
There is No Downside
Doing ‘The Minimal Test’ on your campaign really has no downside. It takes a few hours and a few dollars to do but you win either way.
- If your optimized page does best, you’ve successfully optimized (win)
- If a minimal page does best, you were smart to re-test. (win)
Going back and doing a double-check like this is a win/win situation. And it’s just one more way you can make sure you’re squeezing every drop out of your campaign.
Optimizing a landing page is one of the most important skills in this game. And when you do it right it can make the difference between making money and losing money.
Most affiliates end the optimization process when they run out of things to add, but as I’ve explained today – adding things is only the beginning.
The next time you have a landing page and you feel like you’ve added everything you can to it…
Do a simple test.
Start taking things away.