How I Got 88 New Subscribers Without a Landing Page: an Experiment with Leadpages

I spend a lot of time looking at landing pages. Because I focus my teaching on using Facebook ads for list building, your landing page automatically becomes a big part of the growing-your-list equation.

I’m actually starting to think that your landing page is MORE important than the ad itself. But I’ll talk more about that on another day.

Today I want to share with you this little experiment I did last year. I was curious to see what would happen if I ran ads that pointed people to a LeadBox, one of Leadpages’ features, instead of sending people to a landing page.

Why wouldn’t you want to direct people to a custom landing page?

Typically your landing page has one and only one purpose: to get me to take a specific action. In terms of pages designed for list building, that action is to give you my email address.

But there are three reasons why you might want to consider this skip-the-landing-page technique:

  1. Your website theme doesn’t have a landing page option. Because of the default design of your website, your navigation bar(s) and beautiful sidebar end up acting as distractions on your landing page. So even if your offer is amazing and you’ve got the copywriting chops to prove it, the money you spend sending people to that page might be wasted. They could forget to opt in because they’re clicking over to your blog, your about page, or your “As Seen In” page. Your free content is forgotten and those visitors don’t end up on your list.
  2. Putting together a landing page is time consuming. You gotta write the copy, figure out the design, add in the optin form. Even with software like Leadpages or OptimizePress that are designed to make things simple, it can take lots and lots of time to customize everything.
  3. Despite all your work, your landing page still isn’t converting. You’ve tweaked and rewritten and are still getting traffic, but you can’t quite break that 30% conversion rate. (30% from cold traffic is the absolute minimum conversion rate that I’ll accept for my clients, but I’m always aiming for a lot closer to 50% or 60%.)

How I tested ads without a landing page:

Using my typical target audience inside a simple ad set, I created this ad:

Facebook Ad Example - Claire Pelletreau

The ad drove traffic to my standard landing page at that time. Since then I’ve opted for one of Leadpages’ templates, but this one always converted at 40% or more:

My landing page for Facebook ads guide

Then I duplicated the ad, creating an exact replica. This time I changed the url attached to my new ad. I used the url Leadpages gave me when I created this LeadBox so that clicking on this second ad would cause this box to pop up on your screen:

My LeadBox for Facebook Ads

Then I ran these nearly-identical ads at the same time. Putting them both in the same ad set automatically A/B tested my landing page versus my LeadBox.

Here’s how that works: when you run two or more ads simultaneously in the same ad set, Facebook starts out by running them both, showing them more or less equally to your target audience. So one person might see the ad that points people to my landing page while the other sees the ad that triggers my LeadBox to pop up. There is zero discernible difference between the two ads, so the people viewing them can’t tell what will happen when they click.

But once Facebook starts to see that one ad is getting better results than the other (like a higher CTR or a cheaper cost-per-conversion), they automatically stop showing the ad that isn’t performing as well.

This is why you will often see that one of your ads got a lot more Reach than the other(s). Facebook is optimizing your campaign for you. (I love this feature, and it’s also the reason I won’t run more than two ads at once.)

So what happened?

My ads were shown and people clicked on both, but the early conversions came in cheaper from people who clicked on the LeadBox ad! So almost immediately Facebook declared my Leadbox ad the winner in this test and stopped showing the ad connected to my landing page. You can see the final results for this campaign that I spent $140 on:

Results of Leadbox test with Facebook ads

NOTE: I plan to run this test again. One conversion from the landing page ad isn’t enough data to make a completely confident call on this, but I can definitely say that this LeadBox performed as well if not better than my landing page.

So…do you need a landing page to run ads?

Not necessarily. You may be able to capture leads with a simple Leadbox like the one I created. Notice, however, that my LeadBox features very similar copy on it as what was on my landing page. It also features an image of the guide you get when you opt in. And that guide image matches the image on the ad, so there’s consistency throughout the entire Facebook-ad-to-LeadBox user experience.

How much do I have to pay to use LeadBoxes?

The most basic Leadpages plan comes with LeadBoxes, which will set you back $37 per month or $300 if you pay upfront for that plan for an entire year.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I use the Pro plan and paid annually to save a bunch of money, but I started off paying for the Pro plan month-to-month to see if I really needed it. I went for the Pro plan mostly because I wanted the A/B testing feature, but access to their affiliate program is a nice plus as well. The links to Leadpages in this post are my affiliate links, but I would definitely recommend this LeadBox feature even if I didn’t receive a dime from them!)

What about you? What are you thinking about testing in your business?

Tests don’t necessarily have to involve A/B testing or Facebook ads (but they ARE a great way to get a quick boost of traffic to a page!). I consider pretty much everything I do in my business a kind of test, from a special offer to a launch format, even my products and services! It certainly helps to view it this way when things don’t go as you’d hope. These kinds of tests help you learn something about what you’re good at, what your audience really needs, and how you can put that all together to best serve them.

So that thing you’ve been toying around with in your mind, something you’re not sure if you can commit to but you’d like to test out? Drop it in the comments below!