Always Test! Did I Say “Always”?

One of the benefits of creating pages that generate leads online is that they are mostly a “set and forget” deal:  Write the pitch, set up the autoresponder or affiliate links, publish, done.  Move on to getting the message out there and watch the leads begin to come in.

Maybe.

We may not be practicing "rocket science", but testing is always a good idea when creating landing pages and email templates for your visitors

I just came face to face with my own stupidity – or assumption – call it what you will, but no matter what you call it:  it hurts and it is totally my own fault for not testing what I set up.

Several months back I created a landing page on our site for a product that we are an affiliate of.  The vendor graciously creates a pre-formatted landing page complete with you own header and embedded links all set to go.

The one thing that I didn’t like about the setup is that putting a link to this page in our own website navigation results in taking you out of our site since the page is hosted by the vendor.  While I wanted prospects to sign up for their free trial – I did not want them leaving our site navigation.  So I came up with what I thought was a novel solution – create an iFrame in our own blog page code.  Best of both worlds!  Prospects were taken to the sign up page with our affiliate code intact and they still had our navigation “wrapper” around the page so when they were done they could look at other stuff on our site.  Yeah…

Well a few (more than a few – I was busy with our new membership site – what can I say?!!) months passed and I realized that I had never seen any traction on the affiliate product.  We inquired with the vendor, they sent us a report (which they are supposed to do every month but don’t – another reason to create reminders in your CRM to follow up on a timely basis – if it is your income, it is ultimately your responsibility to pay attention – do not wait on the vendor to look out for you!) which oddly showed no new sign up.

It’s a fairly popular product so that seems weird.  Fortunately, I had wrapped the links from my forum and email signatures in a URL shortner.  Looking at the report from the shortner I could see that there had indeed been around 100 click throughs and from what sites.  We went back to the vendor and said “Hey!  Look at this!  You mean to say NO ONE out of all these click signed up for a no risk free trial that doesn’t even need a credit card?”

Their response?  “Right.  Oh, and by the way, we looked at your landing page and it is not tracking your affiliate code because of the way you set it up.”

So, I wasted several months and almost 100 leads, who knows how many actual sales dollars…  Why?  Because I did not fully test that the landing page code I had created was working.  I took it to the point of clicking all the way through things, but I never actually filled out the sign up form when I got there.  Had I, I would have seen that the form was not working.

Always test.  To the end.

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