Challenge:

Increase the number of new business leads without degrading their quality by making it easier for A Place for Mom's online visitors to submit their contact information.

Solution:

With the SiteSpect optimization platform, A Place for Mom was able to increase conversions by 30% simply by non-intrusively testing page layout and content.

Founded in 2000, A Place for Mom is the nation's largest elder care referral service providing comprehensive resources about senior housing and elder care options to seniors and families in need. A Place for Mom receives nearly 25,000 inquiries a month and employs more than 300 Eldercare Advisors who assist families with the difficult task of selecting senior care, such as nursing homes, assisted living, Alzheimer's care, retirement communities, home care, and other options.

Like many businesses, A Place for Mom needs new business leads to exist. The challenge is how best to gather high-quality leads without excluding contact information that would result in lesser-value leads.

"It's pretty simple: without leads, the business doesn't exist," says Ben Villa, Senior Product Manager at A Place for Mom. "With Google and other PPC players getting more expensive every year, it is absolutely critical to be able to make the most out of the traffic we're driving to our site." The company initially set out to optimize their traffic by implementing a tag-based testing solution, but, in the words of one of the engineers at A Place for Mom, "it was a pain to implement and some of the choices they made seemed a bit questionable to many of us." Thus, the company turned to SiteSpect to help with its overall testing program. With the help of SiteSpect's non-intrusive multivariate testing and behavioral targeting technology as well as its Professional Services team, the results have been very positive.

"We know we've been getting many more leads. Our first three successful tests have helped increase conversion rates on our site by 25-30%," Villa noted.

Homing in on the testing results.

Out of all of the potential web site elements to test, A Place for Mom hit on three ideas that they hypothesized could impact their goal of increased leads.

  1. Streamlining landing pages.
    The site displays several links that are not essential to lead capture on their PPC campaign's landing page. While the company wanted to keep them on the page in order to make the page content-rich for Google Quality Score purposes, too many users were either bouncing from the page or clicking on the links and getting lost as potential leads. So, Villa tested what would happen if they simply streamlined the landing page by placing links in different positions. Villa estimates that by doing so and thereby decreasing visual distraction, conversion rates increased by approximately 10%-12%.
  2. Simplifying form fields.
    One of the forms on the landing page lead capture form was deemed not essential to 98% of visitors. By testing variations of the page without this form field to those visitors, conversion rates increased another 6-8%.
  3. Targeting content variations based on search keywords.
    "Generally speaking, if visitors are searching for something specific, you should give them what they're looking for," Villa noted. "If someone runs a search for 'nursing homes,' we want to display a page about nursing homes." Villa decided to test this hypothesis by running tests on content variations based on keywords and referring URLs. For example, the headline on the form discussed above reads "I am looking for elder care near:". The company decided to test what would happen if they substituted the words "assisted living" and "nursing homes" for "elder care" based on the keyword a user had searched on. So if a user came to the site through searching for something such as "assisted living communities," A Place for Mom would display "I am looking for assisted living near:". Villa says "this has been another big winner for us, boosting conversion rates by nearly 15%."

Interestingly, a test substituting "nursing homes" for "elder care" (regardless of the keyword a user had used to find the site) was found to actually decrease conversion by about 15-19%. "You can't be lazy about this," Villa warns online marketers. "You have to make sure that you're being appropriately granular, showing the right variations to the right segments of users."

Working with SiteSpect.

While Villa was not with A Place for Mom when the decision was made to go with SiteSpect, he serendipitously had come from another company using SiteSpect and thus was already familiar with the product. "I love the fact that there is no need to tag pages or insert JavaScript," he said. "Moreover, because of the minimal development involvement required, tests can be turned around extremely quickly. In fact, I can have tests up and running in a matter of minutes."

He continued; "If I happen to come up with a good idea late at night or over the weekend, or just some random time when I'm sitting at my desk, I can get a new test going immediately. I know patience is supposed to be a virtue, but in this business, it can end up costing you a lot of money."

"SiteSpect has been all that I hoped it would be," Villa concluded. "It's extremely easy to use, it seems that we can test just about anything we could ever want to, doesn't take very long to learn how to use, and is far less expensive than other solutions."