How to Write Instagram Captions That Drive Engagement

Staying active on social media is absolutely necessary if you want your business to be successful.

This statement holds true for small, local mom-and-pop stores as well as national chains and global ecommerce sites.

Even if you’re not selling a tangible product and just run a blog or something similar, you need to have a social media presence.

But having social media profiles and properly managing them are two different things.

Did you know about 80% of social media browsing takes place on mobile devices?

That’s one of the reasons why you need to focus on your Instagram strategy.

Plus, look at the rapid growth it’s had over the last several years:

image2 4

The popularity of this platform can’t be ignored.

Businesses are recognizing this trend and acting accordingly.

In fact, over 70% of companies in the United States had an Instagram profile in 2017.

That number has skyrocketed from 48.8% in 2016.

If you are one of these businesses, I’m sure you’re taking advantage of everything Instagram has to offer.

You post photos daily.

You’re always adding videos to your story.

You may even go live once in a while too.

But how are these actions engaging your followers?

Taking and posting the perfect picture can grab someone’s attention, but your captions will give them a sense of direction.

It’s important you write actionable Instagram captions.

If you need help writing your captions, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know about writing captions that drive engagement.

Let everyone know where you are with location tags

I’ll start by telling you something that does not need to be in your caption.

When it comes to the location of the photos, do tell your followers where the photo was taken.

But here’s the catch: you don’t need to put that in your caption.

That’s a waste of valuable space.

I see people make this mistake all the time.

Instead, tag the location of the photo.

Here’s an example.

Rather than saying, “Here we are at the United Center,” the Jordan brand geo-tags the location of the photo instead.

image4 4

Now they can put other information in their caption.

They used this post to promote a new product launch.

But that message could have been lost in the shuffle if they wrote their location in the caption.

Another reason why you should tag the location is because it will appear with all the other photos and videos tagged at that location.

The posts with the most likes and comments will show up as “Top Posts” on that location’s page.

image8 4

It’s a great way for people who might not follow you to see your posts as well.

If the Jordan brand included their location in a caption, it wouldn’t be exposed to such a wide audience.

Plus, location tagging drives engagement, which is our ultimate goal.

image1 4

Keep your location out of the caption, and tag it instead.

That’s a much better engagement strategy.

Don’t write the first thing that comes to your mind

You took 20 different pictures of the same subject from different angles and with different lighting.

Then you spent time finding the best one, adding a filter or two, changing the exposure, brightness, and saturation, and playing around with all the other editing tools.

But then you write your caption in 10 seconds because you want to post it right away.

That’s a mistake.

You should take just as long, if not longer, to write your Instagram caption for that photo.

Think about all the other written content you’re putting out on the Internet, like your blog, for example.

You write a draft and then you edit it.

Maybe you edit it a second or even a third time before adding the post to your website.

Apply that same concept to your Instagram captions.

Write drafts—and several of them.

Take your time. The photo isn’t going anywhere and neither are your followers.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should take all week or a month to write these couple of lines of text.

But you need to put some thought into it. Concentrate on your captions as much as you focus on taking the photo and editing it.

Writing drafts can also help you make sure you don’t have spelling errors or make any other blunders.

While Instagram allows you to edit your caption after it’s posted, by the time you realize there is a mistake, thousands of followers could have already seen it.

Those are careless mistakes.

You don’t want people to think you don’t care.

Put the most important information first

If you’re writing a longer caption, don’t be clever trying to ease into it with a creative introduction.

Instead, lead with your most important message.

Be direct.

Instagram allows you to have 2200 characters in your caption, but that doesn’t mean your followers will see it all. Well, at least not right away.

Longer captions get cut off.

image5 4

The example above shows the caption before and after the user hits “more.”

And this caption isn’t even that long.

While in general, I think shorter captions are more effective, I don’t want to discourage you from writing longer ones.

Just make sure your most important content isn’t at the end.

Not everyone will click on the “more” button to see the whole thing.

Keep in mind, users are just scrolling down their newsfeeds glancing at photos.

They probably don’t care enough about your caption to read the whole thing.

So at least try to hook them in with the first couple of lines to give them a reason to keep reading.

Find ways to encourage comments

You want each post to have lots of engagement.

One of the ways to do this is by getting people to comment on your pictures.

Users can talk in the comments with each other or reply directly to you.

Another way to get more comments is by replying to users and driving a discussion.

For this method to be successful, however, you have to get people talking in the first place.

End your caption with a question to invite comments from your followers.

If you don’t ask them something, they may not have a reason to write anything.

Another way to get comments is by encouraging your followers to tag their friends in photos.

Here’s an example from MVMT Watches:

image11 1

This post received nearly 900 comments in less than five days.

Clearly, this is an effective strategy.

Drive traffic to your website

If you have an ecommerce store, the ultimate goal of your Instagram page should be to get more sales from your followers.

To get people to make a purchase, you have to get them to your website first since purchases can’t be made directly from the Instagram platform.

You should also be tracking where your website traffic is coming from.

Create a unique URL with a tracking code to see the number of referrals from your Instagram page.

That will help you gauge how successful this strategy is.

It’s always important to measure results, so establish a benchmark to improve upon.

Add that unique link to your Instagram bio.

Then, you can use your caption to refer your followers to the link.

Here’s an example from H&M to show you what I’m talking about:

image6 4

This photo shows some specific clothing items they’re selling.

If people are interested in buying one of these items, they can click on a link in the bio that brings them directly to the item.

That way they don’t have to key in the website URL first and then search for the item.

It’s too many steps that can turn them away and reduce the chances of a sale.

Here’s what that link looks like in the H&M bio:

image10 2

This makes it really easy for customers to shop, leading to more sales.

Run a contest

Nothing gets people excited like the opportunity to get something free.

You can use contests as a way to promote your brand on Instagram.

This strategy will definitely drive engagement if you can write a great caption.

First, let’s review the three different types of giveaways:

  • contest
  • sweepstakes
  • lottery

When the participants have to do something that requires some sort of effort or skill to win a prize, it’s considered a contest. The winner is determined by judges or a vote.

If you’re selecting a winner at random, it’s called a sweepstakes.

A lottery would mean that people would have to buy a raffle ticket or something like that to enter.

But I wouldn’t recommend doing this, especially because certain state and federal laws prohibit these types of giveaways.

Your best bet is running a contest. That’s one of my favorite ways to keep your followers engaged.

Their effort will determine whether they win or not.

Here’s a great example of a strong caption promoting a contest run by Starbucks:

image7 4

It’s a successful campaign strategy because it encourages user-generated content.

Here’s how it works.

Starbucks invites their customers to design a cup.

Then the customers have to post a picture of their cups on Instagram with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.

Think about your brand and your current contest.

If you own a coffee shop, there are only so many pictures of coffee and pastries you can post.

Your followers will get bored with that real quick.

That’s why your captions have to be engaging.

Try running a contest the next time you post a picture on Instagram.

Here’s a contest example from Mint:

image9 3

You can use this caption as a template for your own contest, using your own information: name, hashtag, prize, and deadline.

Use hashtags

We’ve discussed hashtags a few times already, but they are important enough to mention on their own.

You want to include hashtags in your captions.

For the same reason, we tagged location.

Your post will appear on a page with all the other images with the same hashtag.

You’ll expose your brand to a wider audience.

I’d recommend putting hashtags at the end of your caption.

As we saw earlier, long captions can get cut off.

But your hashtag doesn’t have to be visible to be effective.

It will group your picture with all the other posts with that hashtag.

If you’re not sure which hashtag to use, start typing and Instagram will suggest the most popular ones.

image3 4

Pick the one with the most posts.

This will give you the greatest user engagement.

While you want to include hashtags, use them sparingly.

Going overboard with them could look like spam, and it’s not appealing to your followers.

Make sure your hashtags are relevant.

Don’t just use trending hashtags as a way to get exposure if they have nothing to do with your post or brand.

Again, this will make people think you’re spamming them, which is counterproductive to your engagement strategy.

Conclusion

Don’t overlook the importance of writing a good Instagram caption.

You spend lots of time selecting and editing a photo. Make sure you’re putting just as much effort into the caption.

Write several drafts before deciding on the best.

While you want to let users know where you are, that doesn’t mean it should be part of your caption. It’s a waste of space. Use location tagging instead.

Long captions will get cut off, so write the most important information at the beginning.

Encourage user comments by asking a question or telling your followers to tag their friends.

Drive traffic to your website through a link in your bio. Mention the link in your captions.

This will help you get more sales if you have an ecommerce site.

Promote a contest or giveaway in your captions too.

Add hashtags as well, but use them sparingly.

If you follow these tips, you’ll get more engagement on all your Instagram posts.

Which caption strategy has been the most successful for your company’s Instagram profile?

Staying active on social media is absolutely necessary if you want your business to be successful.

This statement holds true for small, local mom-and-pop stores as well as national chains and global ecommerce sites.

Even if you’re not selling a tangible product and just run a blog or something similar, you need to have a social media presence.

But having social media profiles and properly managing them are two different things.

Did you know about 80% of social media browsing takes place on mobile devices?

That’s one of the reasons why you need to focus on your Instagram strategy.

Plus, look at the rapid growth it’s had over the last several years:

image2 4

The popularity of this platform can’t be ignored.

Businesses are recognizing this trend and acting accordingly.

In fact, over 70% of companies in the United States had an Instagram profile in 2017.

That number has skyrocketed from 48.8% in 2016.

If you are one of these businesses, I’m sure you’re taking advantage of everything Instagram has to offer.

You post photos daily.

You’re always adding videos to your story.

You may even go live once in a while too.

But how are these actions engaging your followers?

Taking and posting the perfect picture can grab someone’s attention, but your captions will give them a sense of direction.

It’s important you write actionable Instagram captions.

If you need help writing your captions, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know about writing captions that drive engagement.

Let everyone know where you are with location tags

I’ll start by telling you something that does not need to be in your caption.

When it comes to the location of the photos, do tell your followers where the photo was taken.

But here’s the catch: you don’t need to put that in your caption.

That’s a waste of valuable space.

I see people make this mistake all the time.

Instead, tag the location of the photo.

Here’s an example.

Rather than saying, “Here we are at the United Center,” the Jordan brand geo-tags the location of the photo instead.

image4 4

Now they can put other information in their caption.

They used this post to promote a new product launch.

But that message could have been lost in the shuffle if they wrote their location in the caption.

Another reason why you should tag the location is because it will appear with all the other photos and videos tagged at that location.

The posts with the most likes and comments will show up as “Top Posts” on that location’s page.

image8 4

It’s a great way for people who might not follow you to see your posts as well.

If the Jordan brand included their location in a caption, it wouldn’t be exposed to such a wide audience.

Plus, location tagging drives engagement, which is our ultimate goal.

image1 4

Keep your location out of the caption, and tag it instead.

That’s a much better engagement strategy.

Don’t write the first thing that comes to your mind

You took 20 different pictures of the same subject from different angles and with different lighting.

Then you spent time finding the best one, adding a filter or two, changing the exposure, brightness, and saturation, and playing around with all the other editing tools.

But then you write your caption in 10 seconds because you want to post it right away.

That’s a mistake.

You should take just as long, if not longer, to write your Instagram caption for that photo.

Think about all the other written content you’re putting out on the Internet, like your blog, for example.

You write a draft and then you edit it.

Maybe you edit it a second or even a third time before adding the post to your website.

Apply that same concept to your Instagram captions.

Write drafts—and several of them.

Take your time. The photo isn’t going anywhere and neither are your followers.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should take all week or a month to write these couple of lines of text.

But you need to put some thought into it. Concentrate on your captions as much as you focus on taking the photo and editing it.

Writing drafts can also help you make sure you don’t have spelling errors or make any other blunders.

While Instagram allows you to edit your caption after it’s posted, by the time you realize there is a mistake, thousands of followers could have already seen it.

Those are careless mistakes.

You don’t want people to think you don’t care.

Put the most important information first

If you’re writing a longer caption, don’t be clever trying to ease into it with a creative introduction.

Instead, lead with your most important message.

Be direct.

Instagram allows you to have 2200 characters in your caption, but that doesn’t mean your followers will see it all. Well, at least not right away.

Longer captions get cut off.

image5 4

The example above shows the caption before and after the user hits “more.”

And this caption isn’t even that long.

While in general, I think shorter captions are more effective, I don’t want to discourage you from writing longer ones.

Just make sure your most important content isn’t at the end.

Not everyone will click on the “more” button to see the whole thing.

Keep in mind, users are just scrolling down their newsfeeds glancing at photos.

They probably don’t care enough about your caption to read the whole thing.

So at least try to hook them in with the first couple of lines to give them a reason to keep reading.

Find ways to encourage comments

You want each post to have lots of engagement.

One of the ways to do this is by getting people to comment on your pictures.

Users can talk in the comments with each other or reply directly to you.

Another way to get more comments is by replying to users and driving a discussion.

For this method to be successful, however, you have to get people talking in the first place.

End your caption with a question to invite comments from your followers.

If you don’t ask them something, they may not have a reason to write anything.

Another way to get comments is by encouraging your followers to tag their friends in photos.

Here’s an example from MVMT Watches:

image11 1

This post received nearly 900 comments in less than five days.

Clearly, this is an effective strategy.

Drive traffic to your website

If you have an ecommerce store, the ultimate goal of your Instagram page should be to get more sales from your followers.

To get people to make a purchase, you have to get them to your website first since purchases can’t be made directly from the Instagram platform.

You should also be tracking where your website traffic is coming from.

Create a unique URL with a tracking code to see the number of referrals from your Instagram page.

That will help you gauge how successful this strategy is.

It’s always important to measure results, so establish a benchmark to improve upon.

Add that unique link to your Instagram bio.

Then, you can use your caption to refer your followers to the link.

Here’s an example from H&M to show you what I’m talking about:

image6 4

This photo shows some specific clothing items they’re selling.

If people are interested in buying one of these items, they can click on a link in the bio that brings them directly to the item.

That way they don’t have to key in the website URL first and then search for the item.

It’s too many steps that can turn them away and reduce the chances of a sale.

Here’s what that link looks like in the H&M bio:

image10 2

This makes it really easy for customers to shop, leading to more sales.

Run a contest

Nothing gets people excited like the opportunity to get something free.

You can use contests as a way to promote your brand on Instagram.

This strategy will definitely drive engagement if you can write a great caption.

First, let’s review the three different types of giveaways:

  • contest
  • sweepstakes
  • lottery

When the participants have to do something that requires some sort of effort or skill to win a prize, it’s considered a contest. The winner is determined by judges or a vote.

If you’re selecting a winner at random, it’s called a sweepstakes.

A lottery would mean that people would have to buy a raffle ticket or something like that to enter.

But I wouldn’t recommend doing this, especially because certain state and federal laws prohibit these types of giveaways.

Your best bet is running a contest. That’s one of my favorite ways to keep your followers engaged.

Their effort will determine whether they win or not.

Here’s a great example of a strong caption promoting a contest run by Starbucks:

image7 4

It’s a successful campaign strategy because it encourages user-generated content.

Here’s how it works.

Starbucks invites their customers to design a cup.

Then the customers have to post a picture of their cups on Instagram with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.

Think about your brand and your current contest.

If you own a coffee shop, there are only so many pictures of coffee and pastries you can post.

Your followers will get bored with that real quick.

That’s why your captions have to be engaging.

Try running a contest the next time you post a picture on Instagram.

Here’s a contest example from Mint:

image9 3

You can use this caption as a template for your own contest, using your own information: name, hashtag, prize, and deadline.

Use hashtags

We’ve discussed hashtags a few times already, but they are important enough to mention on their own.

You want to include hashtags in your captions.

For the same reason, we tagged location.

Your post will appear on a page with all the other images with the same hashtag.

You’ll expose your brand to a wider audience.

I’d recommend putting hashtags at the end of your caption.

As we saw earlier, long captions can get cut off.

But your hashtag doesn’t have to be visible to be effective.

It will group your picture with all the other posts with that hashtag.

If you’re not sure which hashtag to use, start typing and Instagram will suggest the most popular ones.

image3 4

Pick the one with the most posts.

This will give you the greatest user engagement.

While you want to include hashtags, use them sparingly.

Going overboard with them could look like spam, and it’s not appealing to your followers.

Make sure your hashtags are relevant.

Don’t just use trending hashtags as a way to get exposure if they have nothing to do with your post or brand.

Again, this will make people think you’re spamming them, which is counterproductive to your engagement strategy.

Conclusion

Don’t overlook the importance of writing a good Instagram caption.

You spend lots of time selecting and editing a photo. Make sure you’re putting just as much effort into the caption.

Write several drafts before deciding on the best.

While you want to let users know where you are, that doesn’t mean it should be part of your caption. It’s a waste of space. Use location tagging instead.

Long captions will get cut off, so write the most important information at the beginning.

Encourage user comments by asking a question or telling your followers to tag their friends.

Drive traffic to your website through a link in your bio. Mention the link in your captions.

This will help you get more sales if you have an ecommerce site.

Promote a contest or giveaway in your captions too.

Add hashtags as well, but use them sparingly.

If you follow these tips, you’ll get more engagement on all your Instagram posts.

Which caption strategy has been the most successful for your company’s Instagram profile?

How HubSpot's Pricing Page Redesign Increased MQL Conversions by 165% & Free Sign-Ups by 89%

A few months ago during INBOUND 2017, we launched a complete redesign of HubSpot’s website pricing page. Not because it hadn’t been redesigned in a few years (it hadn’t), but because we saw a big conversion opportunity from a page that had a lot of untapped potential.

And boy, did it pay off. Not only did we increase the number of MQLs the page generated by 165%, but we also increased sign-ups for our free products by 89%.

It’s no small feat to increase free product sign-ups while also increasing the number of people who raise their hand and say they want to talk to our sales team about our premium products. But I’m not really here to brag about numbers (though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t even a little bit proud). I’m here to talk about process.Click here to learn best practices for optimizing landing pages and generating  more leads.

A redesign of a website’s pricing page is typically a huge undertaking that involves a lot of company stakeholders. For us, those stakeholders were web strategy (my team), product marketing, sales operations, legal, pricing and packaging, and localization. And when you have that many opinions involved, it’s easy to cave in and make compromises that A) dilute the overall quality of the work you’re doing, and B) detract from the original goals of your redesign.

So keep reading if you want to learn more about our research behind the redesign, our goals, how we made sure we stuck to those goals during a months-long redesign process with multiple stakeholders, and why we changed what we did. 

Before and After 

You can check out how the old page looked via the Wayback Machine here, and you can find the new page here. Or just take a look at the quick snapshot below … 

Before

old-pricing-page-1.png

After

hubspot-pricing-page-1.png

The Goals of the Redesign

The pricing page has always stood out to my team as being rife with opportunity. Up until this redesign, it had been built primarily as a sales enablement tool. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s also important to note that the pricing page is the second most visited page on our website — second only to our homepage. As a result, the pricing page generates a lot of really broad traffic from visitors who, compared to the sales reps the page was originally optimized for, have much less knowledge of our products.

This meant we had been neglecting to optimize the page for its primary user: the website visitor. As a result, the pricing page was converting visitors at a poor rate, and given the hefty amount of traffic it generates every month, we hypothesized that we were leaving a whole lot of conversations on the table. So our goals were twofold.

  1. Optimize for conversions. Our pricing page should either drive visitors to sign up for a free product or contact our sales team.
  2. Create a positive user experience. Pricing should be presented in a way that is both transparent and easy for users to understand.

The Research Behind the Design

The new pricing page was launched near the end of September, but we started conducting research to lay the groundwork for the redesign way back in May, and let me tell you: It was extensive. In fact, pretty much every decision we made about every aspect of the redesign — the copy, the layout, the user experience, the design, the conversion events — all of it had roots in some aspect of our research.

Defining Guardrails and Omissions

We compiled our goals and the findings of our research into a slide deck that defined specific guardrails and omissions for the redesign based on the insights we uncovered through our research and discovery phase.

We shared this deck with all the page’s key stakeholders and asked them to sign off on the plan before we got started. This gave us a document to refer back to throughout the redesign process to ensure we were staying true to our goals and sticking to our guardrails.

Here’s a look at the different types of research we conducted and how its insights led to specific changes on the pricing page. 

1. Qualitative Data

First, we analyzed the performance of the existing pricing page from a traffic and conversion perspective.

From this, we learned that people on the pricing page preferred to pick up the phone and give us a call, which led to our decision to feature the sales phone number more prominently in the new design.

We also learned that pricing page users were actively clicking between the pricing for our different products (the Marketing Hub, the Sales Hub, and HubSpot CRM), so we made the navigation between products even more prominent so users could move freely from one product’s pricing to another’s.

quantitative-data.png

 

2. Pre-Testing of Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

In the months leading up to the redesign, we also did some A/B testing to inform our pricing page’s conversion strategy. Historically, the CTAs for the paid products on our pricing page had always linked to our contact sales landing page. But those CTAs had a really poor conversion rate, so we tested them against a demo CTA that led to our demo landing page instead.

While the demo CTAs generated a higher volume of conversions, the data showed that the contact sales CTAs would ultimately result in more customers (due to the higher close rate of contact sales conversions). This informed our decision to keep that contact sales conversion on the new page.

To inform our CTA copy decisions, we ran an additional CTA copy test (“Contact Sales” vs. “Talk to Sales”) and saw a 46% increase in clickthrough rate with the use of the “Talk to Sales” copy, which we therefore implemented in the redesign.

talk-to-sales-1.png

 

3. Chat Transcripts

We also reviewed transcripts of the chat conversations that were happening on the pricing page to determine the common questions users were asking while they were on the page.

From this, we learned that people were often skeptical that the CRM was truly free, which led to our decision to incorporate copy on the CRM pricing page to directly address that concern.

We also learned that people were confused by the contact tier pricing for the Marketing Hub, so we incorporated a slider that shows users how purchasing additional contacts directly impacts their pricing, and also added a tooltip to explain to users what “contacts” are.

Lastly, we learned that because we had only been displaying pricing for our Marketing Basic, Professional, and Enterprise plans on our main pricing page (with pricing for our free and Starter plans living on an entirely separate, fairly hidden page), the $200 Marketing Basic price tag gave a lot of visitors sticker shock. This supported our decision to incorporate pricing for our free and Starter plans (and sign-up CTAs for our free marketing tools) into the core pricing page to prevent users from disqualifying themselves based on cost alone, and from getting scared away before getting started with our software.

chat-transcript-changes.png

 

4. Interviews With HubSpot Sales Managers & Reps

Knowing that the pricing page is still an important tool for our sales team, we interviewed sales managers and reps alike to gather their feedback on the old pricing page — what they liked and didn’t like, what was working for and against them, and what other opportunities they saw for the upcoming redesign.

From this, we learned that we weren’t putting enough emphasis on the customer support we have — and that customers see it as just as valuable as any other software feature. This led to our decision to include customer support in the page’s feature grid, and to dedicate an entire section of the page to highlighting our various customer support options for paying customers.

We also learned that pricing page users need help determining which particular plan is right for them, and that we should make pricing transparent enough for users to understand what they get with each plan, but also intricate enough that users need diagnostic and prescriptive help from a sales rep. So we updated the copy for the descriptions that go along with each plan to help users more easily self-identify which one is right for them. We also used the copy positioned next to the the sales phone number to communicate to users that the best way to determine the right plan is to talk to a salesperson directly.

sales-feedback.png

 

5. Qualitative User Testing

Furthermore, we conducted user testing on the old pricing page to understand what was already working, and where it fell short.

In addition to further validating insights from some of our other forms of research (e.g. the sticker shock of the Marketing Hub, the confusing contact tier pricing, the oversight of not featuring our customer support services more prominently, users’ difficulty in determining which plan is right for them, and the need for the easy navigation between pricing for different products), we also learned about the elements of the old pricing page that were particularly important to users: transparent pricing, a pricing calculator component, and the ability to easily compare plans.

In addition, we learned that users were having a difficult time comparing the value between different plans, and we discovered that the page’s cognitive load was high. In other words, there was too much information on the page for users to process at once, and they were suffering from information overload.

This led to our decisions to use expandable modules on certain parts of the page to reduce cognitive load, and to redesign the feature comparison table into something that A) was simplified and more easily digestible, and B) made it easier for users to compare the value between plans — the feature grid we have today.

user-testing-changes-1.png

 

6. Competitive Analysis

Pulling primarily from the Montclare SAAS 250 list of the most successful SAAS companies, we also spent time gathering examples of other companies’ pricing pages, analyzed the pros and cons of each approach, and drew inspiration from the pieces we liked.

This helped us validate that the new SKU/plan navigation we were planning to implement (to enable users to easily toggle between pricing plans and compare the available features) was a smart direction.

sku-nav.png

 

7. Building for a Scalable Future

My team keeps testing road maps for many of the core, heavy-hitting pages on our website. Here, we document all the tests we’d like to run and the insights from research we’ve done to come up with those testing ideas — all organized into a timeline of what we should test first.

So as part of the redesign, we sat down with HubSpot Chief Strategy Officer Brad Coffey so we could design a pricing page that would easily scale with, adapt to, and align with our potential business strategy.

Evaluating the Results of the Redesign

After the redesigned page went live, we repeated a lot of the research above to check in on how the new page was performing.

We’ve already mentioned that the redesign led to 165% more hand-raisers and 89% more free users in the month after the redesign (9/27/17 – 10/24/17) compared to the month prior (8/29/17 – 9/25/17), but we also conducted user testing and solicited feedback from our sales team on the new design. Here’s a summary of the feedback we gathered and the ways we’re acting on it.

Feedback From User Testing

From user testing, we learned that the new pricing page design is strong — users intuitively use much of the design, and it’s easy for them to understand what they’d be getting from each pricing plan.

Users also commented that the conversion events on the page seemed well-balanced and not intrusive. They said the CTAs throughout the page to talk to Sales, call us, and chat with us weren’t overly aggressive; they were actually helpful!

We also identified some room for improvement, and learned that there were some small design and copy tweaks we could implement to improve the user experience even further still, which we’ve been following up on.

Feedback From the Sales Team

In addition to users, we also solicited feedback from our sales team, who identified a few updates we could make to the design to make our pricing even more transparent and user-friendly to prospects.

As a result, for example, we made the pricing page URL dynamic so it  changes based on a user’s selections in the pricing calculator. This made it much easier for sales reps to share specific pricing configurations with prospects, who could in turn share those configurations with other decision-makers in their company.

configuration-url.png

Design Based on Insights

Our redesign wasn’t successful by chance, and none of the changes we made were made on a whim. All of the decisions we made (the copy, the layout, the user experience, the design, the conversion events) were strategic and deliberate, rooted in insights we learned from some aspect of our research. 

The lesson is this: When you test and design based on insights you’ve learned from real research, that’s how you generate real results.

So if you’re considering a redesign, make sure there is a real, data-backed reason for doing it, and do your due diligence to identify which parts of your design are failing (and why) so you know exactly what to fix and how to fix it. Redesigns are a time-consuming, and often expensive, undertaking, so you’ll want to do your best to make sure the results were worth the effort. 

landing-page-design-ebook

 

Free Guide Optimize Landing Pages

The post How HubSpot's Pricing Page Redesign Increased MQL Conversions by 165% & Free Sign-Ups by 89% appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

A few months ago during INBOUND 2017, we launched a complete redesign of HubSpot’s website pricing page. Not because it hadn’t been redesigned in a few years (it hadn’t), but because we saw a big conversion opportunity from a page that had a lot of untapped potential.

And boy, did it pay off. Not only did we increase the number of MQLs the page generated by 165%, but we also increased sign-ups for our free products by 89%.

It’s no small feat to increase free product sign-ups while also increasing the number of people who raise their hand and say they want to talk to our sales team about our premium products. But I’m not really here to brag about numbers (though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t even a little bit proud). I’m here to talk about process.Click here to learn best practices for optimizing landing pages and generating  more leads.

A redesign of a website’s pricing page is typically a huge undertaking that involves a lot of company stakeholders. For us, those stakeholders were web strategy (my team), product marketing, sales operations, legal, pricing and packaging, and localization. And when you have that many opinions involved, it’s easy to cave in and make compromises that A) dilute the overall quality of the work you’re doing, and B) detract from the original goals of your redesign.

So keep reading if you want to learn more about our research behind the redesign, our goals, how we made sure we stuck to those goals during a months-long redesign process with multiple stakeholders, and why we changed what we did. 

Before and After 

You can check out how the old page looked via the Wayback Machine here, and you can find the new page here. Or just take a look at the quick snapshot below … 

Before

old-pricing-page-1.png

After

hubspot-pricing-page-1.png

The Goals of the Redesign

The pricing page has always stood out to my team as being rife with opportunity. Up until this redesign, it had been built primarily as a sales enablement tool. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s also important to note that the pricing page is the second most visited page on our website — second only to our homepage. As a result, the pricing page generates a lot of really broad traffic from visitors who, compared to the sales reps the page was originally optimized for, have much less knowledge of our products.

This meant we had been neglecting to optimize the page for its primary user: the website visitor. As a result, the pricing page was converting visitors at a poor rate, and given the hefty amount of traffic it generates every month, we hypothesized that we were leaving a whole lot of conversations on the table. So our goals were twofold.

  1. Optimize for conversions. Our pricing page should either drive visitors to sign up for a free product or contact our sales team.
  2. Create a positive user experience. Pricing should be presented in a way that is both transparent and easy for users to understand.

The Research Behind the Design

The new pricing page was launched near the end of September, but we started conducting research to lay the groundwork for the redesign way back in May, and let me tell you: It was extensive. In fact, pretty much every decision we made about every aspect of the redesign — the copy, the layout, the user experience, the design, the conversion events — all of it had roots in some aspect of our research.

Defining Guardrails and Omissions

We compiled our goals and the findings of our research into a slide deck that defined specific guardrails and omissions for the redesign based on the insights we uncovered through our research and discovery phase.

We shared this deck with all the page’s key stakeholders and asked them to sign off on the plan before we got started. This gave us a document to refer back to throughout the redesign process to ensure we were staying true to our goals and sticking to our guardrails.

Here’s a look at the different types of research we conducted and how its insights led to specific changes on the pricing page. 

1. Qualitative Data

First, we analyzed the performance of the existing pricing page from a traffic and conversion perspective.

From this, we learned that people on the pricing page preferred to pick up the phone and give us a call, which led to our decision to feature the sales phone number more prominently in the new design.

We also learned that pricing page users were actively clicking between the pricing for our different products (the Marketing Hub, the Sales Hub, and HubSpot CRM), so we made the navigation between products even more prominent so users could move freely from one product’s pricing to another’s.

quantitative-data.png

 

2. Pre-Testing of Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

In the months leading up to the redesign, we also did some A/B testing to inform our pricing page’s conversion strategy. Historically, the CTAs for the paid products on our pricing page had always linked to our contact sales landing page. But those CTAs had a really poor conversion rate, so we tested them against a demo CTA that led to our demo landing page instead.

While the demo CTAs generated a higher volume of conversions, the data showed that the contact sales CTAs would ultimately result in more customers (due to the higher close rate of contact sales conversions). This informed our decision to keep that contact sales conversion on the new page.

To inform our CTA copy decisions, we ran an additional CTA copy test (“Contact Sales” vs. “Talk to Sales”) and saw a 46% increase in clickthrough rate with the use of the “Talk to Sales” copy, which we therefore implemented in the redesign.

talk-to-sales-1.png

 

3. Chat Transcripts

We also reviewed transcripts of the chat conversations that were happening on the pricing page to determine the common questions users were asking while they were on the page.

From this, we learned that people were often skeptical that the CRM was truly free, which led to our decision to incorporate copy on the CRM pricing page to directly address that concern.

We also learned that people were confused by the contact tier pricing for the Marketing Hub, so we incorporated a slider that shows users how purchasing additional contacts directly impacts their pricing, and also added a tooltip to explain to users what “contacts” are.

Lastly, we learned that because we had only been displaying pricing for our Marketing Basic, Professional, and Enterprise plans on our main pricing page (with pricing for our free and Starter plans living on an entirely separate, fairly hidden page), the $200 Marketing Basic price tag gave a lot of visitors sticker shock. This supported our decision to incorporate pricing for our free and Starter plans (and sign-up CTAs for our free marketing tools) into the core pricing page to prevent users from disqualifying themselves based on cost alone, and from getting scared away before getting started with our software.

chat-transcript-changes.png

 

4. Interviews With HubSpot Sales Managers & Reps

Knowing that the pricing page is still an important tool for our sales team, we interviewed sales managers and reps alike to gather their feedback on the old pricing page — what they liked and didn’t like, what was working for and against them, and what other opportunities they saw for the upcoming redesign.

From this, we learned that we weren’t putting enough emphasis on the customer support we have — and that customers see it as just as valuable as any other software feature. This led to our decision to include customer support in the page’s feature grid, and to dedicate an entire section of the page to highlighting our various customer support options for paying customers.

We also learned that pricing page users need help determining which particular plan is right for them, and that we should make pricing transparent enough for users to understand what they get with each plan, but also intricate enough that users need diagnostic and prescriptive help from a sales rep. So we updated the copy for the descriptions that go along with each plan to help users more easily self-identify which one is right for them. We also used the copy positioned next to the the sales phone number to communicate to users that the best way to determine the right plan is to talk to a salesperson directly.

sales-feedback.png

 

5. Qualitative User Testing

Furthermore, we conducted user testing on the old pricing page to understand what was already working, and where it fell short.

In addition to further validating insights from some of our other forms of research (e.g. the sticker shock of the Marketing Hub, the confusing contact tier pricing, the oversight of not featuring our customer support services more prominently, users’ difficulty in determining which plan is right for them, and the need for the easy navigation between pricing for different products), we also learned about the elements of the old pricing page that were particularly important to users: transparent pricing, a pricing calculator component, and the ability to easily compare plans.

In addition, we learned that users were having a difficult time comparing the value between different plans, and we discovered that the page’s cognitive load was high. In other words, there was too much information on the page for users to process at once, and they were suffering from information overload.

This led to our decisions to use expandable modules on certain parts of the page to reduce cognitive load, and to redesign the feature comparison table into something that A) was simplified and more easily digestible, and B) made it easier for users to compare the value between plans — the feature grid we have today.

user-testing-changes-1.png

 

6. Competitive Analysis

Pulling primarily from the Montclare SAAS 250 list of the most successful SAAS companies, we also spent time gathering examples of other companies’ pricing pages, analyzed the pros and cons of each approach, and drew inspiration from the pieces we liked.

This helped us validate that the new SKU/plan navigation we were planning to implement (to enable users to easily toggle between pricing plans and compare the available features) was a smart direction.

sku-nav.png

 

7. Building for a Scalable Future

My team keeps testing road maps for many of the core, heavy-hitting pages on our website. Here, we document all the tests we’d like to run and the insights from research we’ve done to come up with those testing ideas — all organized into a timeline of what we should test first.

So as part of the redesign, we sat down with HubSpot Chief Strategy Officer Brad Coffey so we could design a pricing page that would easily scale with, adapt to, and align with our potential business strategy.

Evaluating the Results of the Redesign

After the redesigned page went live, we repeated a lot of the research above to check in on how the new page was performing.

We’ve already mentioned that the redesign led to 165% more hand-raisers and 89% more free users in the month after the redesign (9/27/17 – 10/24/17) compared to the month prior (8/29/17 – 9/25/17), but we also conducted user testing and solicited feedback from our sales team on the new design. Here’s a summary of the feedback we gathered and the ways we’re acting on it.

Feedback From User Testing

From user testing, we learned that the new pricing page design is strong — users intuitively use much of the design, and it’s easy for them to understand what they’d be getting from each pricing plan.

Users also commented that the conversion events on the page seemed well-balanced and not intrusive. They said the CTAs throughout the page to talk to Sales, call us, and chat with us weren’t overly aggressive; they were actually helpful!

We also identified some room for improvement, and learned that there were some small design and copy tweaks we could implement to improve the user experience even further still, which we’ve been following up on.

Feedback From the Sales Team

In addition to users, we also solicited feedback from our sales team, who identified a few updates we could make to the design to make our pricing even more transparent and user-friendly to prospects.

As a result, for example, we made the pricing page URL dynamic so it  changes based on a user’s selections in the pricing calculator. This made it much easier for sales reps to share specific pricing configurations with prospects, who could in turn share those configurations with other decision-makers in their company.

configuration-url.png

Design Based on Insights

Our redesign wasn’t successful by chance, and none of the changes we made were made on a whim. All of the decisions we made (the copy, the layout, the user experience, the design, the conversion events) were strategic and deliberate, rooted in insights we learned from some aspect of our research. 

The lesson is this: When you test and design based on insights you’ve learned from real research, that’s how you generate real results.

So if you’re considering a redesign, make sure there is a real, data-backed reason for doing it, and do your due diligence to identify which parts of your design are failing (and why) so you know exactly what to fix and how to fix it. Redesigns are a time-consuming, and often expensive, undertaking, so you’ll want to do your best to make sure the results were worth the effort. 

landing-page-design-ebook

 

Free Guide Optimize Landing Pages

The post How HubSpot's Pricing Page Redesign Increased MQL Conversions by 165% & Free Sign-Ups by 89% appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

How HubSpot's Pricing Page Redesign Increased MQL Conversions by 165% & Free Sign-Ups by 89%

A few months ago during INBOUND 2017, we launched a complete redesign of HubSpot’s website pricing page. Not because it hadn’t been redesigned in a few years (it hadn’t), but because we saw a big conversion opportunity from a page that had a lot of untapped potential.

And boy, did it pay off. Not only did we increase the number of MQLs the page generated by 165%, but we also increased sign-ups for our free products by 89%.

It’s no small feat to increase free product sign-ups while also increasing the number of people who raise their hand and say they want to talk to our sales team about our premium products. But I’m not really here to brag about numbers (though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t even a little bit proud). I’m here to talk about process.Click here to learn best practices for optimizing landing pages and generating  more leads.

A redesign of a website’s pricing page is typically a huge undertaking that involves a lot of company stakeholders. For us, those stakeholders were web strategy (my team), product marketing, sales operations, legal, pricing and packaging, and localization. And when you have that many opinions involved, it’s easy to cave in and make compromises that A) dilute the overall quality of the work you’re doing, and B) detract from the original goals of your redesign.

So keep reading if you want to learn more about our research behind the redesign, our goals, how we made sure we stuck to those goals during a months-long redesign process with multiple stakeholders, and why we changed what we did. 

Before and After 

You can check out how the old page looked via the Wayback Machine here, and you can find the new page here. Or just take a look at the quick snapshot below … 

Before

old-pricing-page-1.png

After

hubspot-pricing-page-1.png

The Goals of the Redesign

The pricing page has always stood out to my team as being rife with opportunity. Up until this redesign, it had been built primarily as a sales enablement tool. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s also important to note that the pricing page is the second most visited page on our website — second only to our homepage. As a result, the pricing page generates a lot of really broad traffic from visitors who, compared to the sales reps the page was originally optimized for, have much less knowledge of our products.

This meant we had been neglecting to optimize the page for its primary user: the website visitor. As a result, the pricing page was converting visitors at a poor rate, and given the hefty amount of traffic it generates every month, we hypothesized that we were leaving a whole lot of conversations on the table. So our goals were twofold.

  1. Optimize for conversions. Our pricing page should either drive visitors to sign up for a free product or contact our sales team.
  2. Create a positive user experience. Pricing should be presented in a way that is both transparent and easy for users to understand.

The Research Behind the Design

The new pricing page was launched near the end of September, but we started conducting research to lay the groundwork for the redesign way back in May, and let me tell you: It was extensive. In fact, pretty much every decision we made about every aspect of the redesign — the copy, the layout, the user experience, the design, the conversion events — all of it had roots in some aspect of our research.

Defining Guardrails and Omissions

We compiled our goals and the findings of our research into a slide deck that defined specific guardrails and omissions for the redesign based on the insights we uncovered through our research and discovery phase.

We shared this deck with all the page’s key stakeholders and asked them to sign off on the plan before we got started. This gave us a document to refer back to throughout the redesign process to ensure we were staying true to our goals and sticking to our guardrails.

Here’s a look at the different types of research we conducted and how its insights led to specific changes on the pricing page. 

1. Qualitative Data

First, we analyzed the performance of the existing pricing page from a traffic and conversion perspective.

From this, we learned that people on the pricing page preferred to pick up the phone and give us a call, which led to our decision to feature the sales phone number more prominently in the new design.

We also learned that pricing page users were actively clicking between the pricing for our different products (the Marketing Hub, the Sales Hub, and HubSpot CRM), so we made the navigation between products even more prominent so users could move freely from one product’s pricing to another’s.

quantitative-data.png

 

2. Pre-Testing of Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

In the months leading up to the redesign, we also did some A/B testing to inform our pricing page’s conversion strategy. Historically, the CTAs for the paid products on our pricing page had always linked to our contact sales landing page. But those CTAs had a really poor conversion rate, so we tested them against a demo CTA that led to our demo landing page instead.

While the demo CTAs generated a higher volume of conversions, the data showed that the contact sales CTAs would ultimately result in more customers (due to the higher close rate of contact sales conversions). This informed our decision to keep that contact sales conversion on the new page.

To inform our CTA copy decisions, we ran an additional CTA copy test (“Contact Sales” vs. “Talk to Sales”) and saw a 46% increase in clickthrough rate with the use of the “Talk to Sales” copy, which we therefore implemented in the redesign.

talk-to-sales-1.png

 

3. Chat Transcripts

We also reviewed transcripts of the chat conversations that were happening on the pricing page to determine the common questions users were asking while they were on the page.

From this, we learned that people were often skeptical that the CRM was truly free, which led to our decision to incorporate copy on the CRM pricing page to directly address that concern.

We also learned that people were confused by the contact tier pricing for the Marketing Hub, so we incorporated a slider that shows users how purchasing additional contacts directly impacts their pricing, and also added a tooltip to explain to users what “contacts” are.

Lastly, we learned that because we had only been displaying pricing for our Marketing Basic, Professional, and Enterprise plans on our main pricing page (with pricing for our free and Starter plans living on an entirely separate, fairly hidden page), the $200 Marketing Basic price tag gave a lot of visitors sticker shock. This supported our decision to incorporate pricing for our free and Starter plans (and sign-up CTAs for our free marketing tools) into the core pricing page to prevent users from disqualifying themselves based on cost alone, and from getting scared away before getting started with our software.

chat-transcript-changes.png

 

4. Interviews With HubSpot Sales Managers & Reps

Knowing that the pricing page is still an important tool for our sales team, we interviewed sales managers and reps alike to gather their feedback on the old pricing page — what they liked and didn’t like, what was working for and against them, and what other opportunities they saw for the upcoming redesign.

From this, we learned that we weren’t putting enough emphasis on the customer support we have — and that customers see it as just as valuable as any other software feature. This led to our decision to include customer support in the page’s feature grid, and to dedicate an entire section of the page to highlighting our various customer support options for paying customers.

We also learned that pricing page users need help determining which particular plan is right for them, and that we should make pricing transparent enough for users to understand what they get with each plan, but also intricate enough that users need diagnostic and prescriptive help from a sales rep. So we updated the copy for the descriptions that go along with each plan to help users more easily self-identify which one is right for them. We also used the copy positioned next to the the sales phone number to communicate to users that the best way to determine the right plan is to talk to a salesperson directly.

sales-feedback.png

 

5. Qualitative User Testing

Furthermore, we conducted user testing on the old pricing page to understand what was already working, and where it fell short.

In addition to further validating insights from some of our other forms of research (e.g. the sticker shock of the Marketing Hub, the confusing contact tier pricing, the oversight of not featuring our customer support services more prominently, users’ difficulty in determining which plan is right for them, and the need for the easy navigation between pricing for different products), we also learned about the elements of the old pricing page that were particularly important to users: transparent pricing, a pricing calculator component, and the ability to easily compare plans.

In addition, we learned that users were having a difficult time comparing the value between different plans, and we discovered that the page’s cognitive load was high. In other words, there was too much information on the page for users to process at once, and they were suffering from information overload.

This led to our decisions to use expandable modules on certain parts of the page to reduce cognitive load, and to redesign the feature comparison table into something that A) was simplified and more easily digestible, and B) made it easier for users to compare the value between plans — the feature grid we have today.

user-testing-changes-1.png

 

6. Competitive Analysis

Pulling primarily from the Montclare SAAS 250 list of the most successful SAAS companies, we also spent time gathering examples of other companies’ pricing pages, analyzed the pros and cons of each approach, and drew inspiration from the pieces we liked.

This helped us validate that the new SKU/plan navigation we were planning to implement (to enable users to easily toggle between pricing plans and compare the available features) was a smart direction.

sku-nav.png

 

7. Building for a Scalable Future

My team keeps testing road maps for many of the core, heavy-hitting pages on our website. Here, we document all the tests we’d like to run and the insights from research we’ve done to come up with those testing ideas — all organized into a timeline of what we should test first.

So as part of the redesign, we sat down with HubSpot Chief Strategy Officer Brad Coffey so we could design a pricing page that would easily scale with, adapt to, and align with our potential business strategy.

Evaluating the Results of the Redesign

After the redesigned page went live, we repeated a lot of the research above to check in on how the new page was performing.

We’ve already mentioned that the redesign led to 165% more hand-raisers and 89% more free users in the month after the redesign (9/27/17 – 10/24/17) compared to the month prior (8/29/17 – 9/25/17), but we also conducted user testing and solicited feedback from our sales team on the new design. Here’s a summary of the feedback we gathered and the ways we’re acting on it.

Feedback From User Testing

From user testing, we learned that the new pricing page design is strong — users intuitively use much of the design, and it’s easy for them to understand what they’d be getting from each pricing plan.

Users also commented that the conversion events on the page seemed well-balanced and not intrusive. They said the CTAs throughout the page to talk to Sales, call us, and chat with us weren’t overly aggressive; they were actually helpful!

We also identified some room for improvement, and learned that there were some small design and copy tweaks we could implement to improve the user experience even further still, which we’ve been following up on.

Feedback From the Sales Team

In addition to users, we also solicited feedback from our sales team, who identified a few updates we could make to the design to make our pricing even more transparent and user-friendly to prospects.

As a result, for example, we made the pricing page URL dynamic so it  changes based on a user’s selections in the pricing calculator. This made it much easier for sales reps to share specific pricing configurations with prospects, who could in turn share those configurations with other decision-makers in their company.

configuration-url.png

Design Based on Insights

Our redesign wasn’t successful by chance, and none of the changes we made were made on a whim. All of the decisions we made (the copy, the layout, the user experience, the design, the conversion events) were strategic and deliberate, rooted in insights we learned from some aspect of our research. 

The lesson is this: When you test and design based on insights you’ve learned from real research, that’s how you generate real results.

So if you’re considering a redesign, make sure there is a real, data-backed reason for doing it, and do your due diligence to identify which parts of your design are failing (and why) so you know exactly what to fix and how to fix it. Redesigns are a time-consuming, and often expensive, undertaking, so you’ll want to do your best to make sure the results were worth the effort. 

landing-page-design-ebook

 

Free Guide Optimize Landing Pages

A few months ago during INBOUND 2017, we launched a complete redesign of HubSpot’s website pricing page. Not because it hadn’t been redesigned in a few years (it hadn’t), but because we saw a big conversion opportunity from a page that had a lot of untapped potential.

And boy, did it pay off. Not only did we increase the number of MQLs the page generated by 165%, but we also increased sign-ups for our free products by 89%.

It’s no small feat to increase free product sign-ups while also increasing the number of people who raise their hand and say they want to talk to our sales team about our premium products. But I’m not really here to brag about numbers (though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t even a little bit proud). I’m here to talk about process.Click here to learn best practices for optimizing landing pages and generating  more leads.

A redesign of a website’s pricing page is typically a huge undertaking that involves a lot of company stakeholders. For us, those stakeholders were web strategy (my team), product marketing, sales operations, legal, pricing and packaging, and localization. And when you have that many opinions involved, it’s easy to cave in and make compromises that A) dilute the overall quality of the work you’re doing, and B) detract from the original goals of your redesign.

So keep reading if you want to learn more about our research behind the redesign, our goals, how we made sure we stuck to those goals during a months-long redesign process with multiple stakeholders, and why we changed what we did. 

Before and After 

You can check out how the old page looked via the Wayback Machine here, and you can find the new page here. Or just take a look at the quick snapshot below … 

Before

old-pricing-page-1.png

After

hubspot-pricing-page-1.png

The Goals of the Redesign

The pricing page has always stood out to my team as being rife with opportunity. Up until this redesign, it had been built primarily as a sales enablement tool. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s also important to note that the pricing page is the second most visited page on our website — second only to our homepage. As a result, the pricing page generates a lot of really broad traffic from visitors who, compared to the sales reps the page was originally optimized for, have much less knowledge of our products.

This meant we had been neglecting to optimize the page for its primary user: the website visitor. As a result, the pricing page was converting visitors at a poor rate, and given the hefty amount of traffic it generates every month, we hypothesized that we were leaving a whole lot of conversations on the table. So our goals were twofold.

  1. Optimize for conversions. Our pricing page should either drive visitors to sign up for a free product or contact our sales team.
  2. Create a positive user experience. Pricing should be presented in a way that is both transparent and easy for users to understand.

The Research Behind the Design

The new pricing page was launched near the end of September, but we started conducting research to lay the groundwork for the redesign way back in May, and let me tell you: It was extensive. In fact, pretty much every decision we made about every aspect of the redesign — the copy, the layout, the user experience, the design, the conversion events — all of it had roots in some aspect of our research.

Defining Guardrails and Omissions

We compiled our goals and the findings of our research into a slide deck that defined specific guardrails and omissions for the redesign based on the insights we uncovered through our research and discovery phase.

We shared this deck with all the page’s key stakeholders and asked them to sign off on the plan before we got started. This gave us a document to refer back to throughout the redesign process to ensure we were staying true to our goals and sticking to our guardrails.

Here’s a look at the different types of research we conducted and how its insights led to specific changes on the pricing page. 

1. Qualitative Data

First, we analyzed the performance of the existing pricing page from a traffic and conversion perspective.

From this, we learned that people on the pricing page preferred to pick up the phone and give us a call, which led to our decision to feature the sales phone number more prominently in the new design.

We also learned that pricing page users were actively clicking between the pricing for our different products (the Marketing Hub, the Sales Hub, and HubSpot CRM), so we made the navigation between products even more prominent so users could move freely from one product’s pricing to another’s.

quantitative-data.png

 

2. Pre-Testing of Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

In the months leading up to the redesign, we also did some A/B testing to inform our pricing page’s conversion strategy. Historically, the CTAs for the paid products on our pricing page had always linked to our contact sales landing page. But those CTAs had a really poor conversion rate, so we tested them against a demo CTA that led to our demo landing page instead.

While the demo CTAs generated a higher volume of conversions, the data showed that the contact sales CTAs would ultimately result in more customers (due to the higher close rate of contact sales conversions). This informed our decision to keep that contact sales conversion on the new page.

To inform our CTA copy decisions, we ran an additional CTA copy test (“Contact Sales” vs. “Talk to Sales”) and saw a 46% increase in clickthrough rate with the use of the “Talk to Sales” copy, which we therefore implemented in the redesign.

talk-to-sales-1.png

 

3. Chat Transcripts

We also reviewed transcripts of the chat conversations that were happening on the pricing page to determine the common questions users were asking while they were on the page.

From this, we learned that people were often skeptical that the CRM was truly free, which led to our decision to incorporate copy on the CRM pricing page to directly address that concern.

We also learned that people were confused by the contact tier pricing for the Marketing Hub, so we incorporated a slider that shows users how purchasing additional contacts directly impacts their pricing, and also added a tooltip to explain to users what “contacts” are.

Lastly, we learned that because we had only been displaying pricing for our Marketing Basic, Professional, and Enterprise plans on our main pricing page (with pricing for our free and Starter plans living on an entirely separate, fairly hidden page), the $200 Marketing Basic price tag gave a lot of visitors sticker shock. This supported our decision to incorporate pricing for our free and Starter plans (and sign-up CTAs for our free marketing tools) into the core pricing page to prevent users from disqualifying themselves based on cost alone, and from getting scared away before getting started with our software.

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4. Interviews With HubSpot Sales Managers & Reps

Knowing that the pricing page is still an important tool for our sales team, we interviewed sales managers and reps alike to gather their feedback on the old pricing page — what they liked and didn’t like, what was working for and against them, and what other opportunities they saw for the upcoming redesign.

From this, we learned that we weren’t putting enough emphasis on the customer support we have — and that customers see it as just as valuable as any other software feature. This led to our decision to include customer support in the page’s feature grid, and to dedicate an entire section of the page to highlighting our various customer support options for paying customers.

We also learned that pricing page users need help determining which particular plan is right for them, and that we should make pricing transparent enough for users to understand what they get with each plan, but also intricate enough that users need diagnostic and prescriptive help from a sales rep. So we updated the copy for the descriptions that go along with each plan to help users more easily self-identify which one is right for them. We also used the copy positioned next to the the sales phone number to communicate to users that the best way to determine the right plan is to talk to a salesperson directly.

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5. Qualitative User Testing

Furthermore, we conducted user testing on the old pricing page to understand what was already working, and where it fell short.

In addition to further validating insights from some of our other forms of research (e.g. the sticker shock of the Marketing Hub, the confusing contact tier pricing, the oversight of not featuring our customer support services more prominently, users’ difficulty in determining which plan is right for them, and the need for the easy navigation between pricing for different products), we also learned about the elements of the old pricing page that were particularly important to users: transparent pricing, a pricing calculator component, and the ability to easily compare plans.

In addition, we learned that users were having a difficult time comparing the value between different plans, and we discovered that the page’s cognitive load was high. In other words, there was too much information on the page for users to process at once, and they were suffering from information overload.

This led to our decisions to use expandable modules on certain parts of the page to reduce cognitive load, and to redesign the feature comparison table into something that A) was simplified and more easily digestible, and B) made it easier for users to compare the value between plans — the feature grid we have today.

user-testing-changes-1.png

 

6. Competitive Analysis

Pulling primarily from the Montclare SAAS 250 list of the most successful SAAS companies, we also spent time gathering examples of other companies’ pricing pages, analyzed the pros and cons of each approach, and drew inspiration from the pieces we liked.

This helped us validate that the new SKU/plan navigation we were planning to implement (to enable users to easily toggle between pricing plans and compare the available features) was a smart direction.

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7. Building for a Scalable Future

My team keeps testing road maps for many of the core, heavy-hitting pages on our website. Here, we document all the tests we’d like to run and the insights from research we’ve done to come up with those testing ideas — all organized into a timeline of what we should test first.

So as part of the redesign, we sat down with HubSpot Chief Strategy Officer Brad Coffey so we could design a pricing page that would easily scale with, adapt to, and align with our potential business strategy.

Evaluating the Results of the Redesign

After the redesigned page went live, we repeated a lot of the research above to check in on how the new page was performing.

We’ve already mentioned that the redesign led to 165% more hand-raisers and 89% more free users in the month after the redesign (9/27/17 – 10/24/17) compared to the month prior (8/29/17 – 9/25/17), but we also conducted user testing and solicited feedback from our sales team on the new design. Here’s a summary of the feedback we gathered and the ways we’re acting on it.

Feedback From User Testing

From user testing, we learned that the new pricing page design is strong — users intuitively use much of the design, and it’s easy for them to understand what they’d be getting from each pricing plan.

Users also commented that the conversion events on the page seemed well-balanced and not intrusive. They said the CTAs throughout the page to talk to Sales, call us, and chat with us weren’t overly aggressive; they were actually helpful!

We also identified some room for improvement, and learned that there were some small design and copy tweaks we could implement to improve the user experience even further still, which we’ve been following up on.

Feedback From the Sales Team

In addition to users, we also solicited feedback from our sales team, who identified a few updates we could make to the design to make our pricing even more transparent and user-friendly to prospects.

As a result, for example, we made the pricing page URL dynamic so it  changes based on a user’s selections in the pricing calculator. This made it much easier for sales reps to share specific pricing configurations with prospects, who could in turn share those configurations with other decision-makers in their company.

configuration-url.png

Design Based on Insights

Our redesign wasn’t successful by chance, and none of the changes we made were made on a whim. All of the decisions we made (the copy, the layout, the user experience, the design, the conversion events) were strategic and deliberate, rooted in insights we learned from some aspect of our research. 

The lesson is this: When you test and design based on insights you’ve learned from real research, that’s how you generate real results.

So if you’re considering a redesign, make sure there is a real, data-backed reason for doing it, and do your due diligence to identify which parts of your design are failing (and why) so you know exactly what to fix and how to fix it. Redesigns are a time-consuming, and often expensive, undertaking, so you’ll want to do your best to make sure the results were worth the effort. 

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