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How To Conduct Qualitative User Research To Optimize Your SaaS Landing Page

As a product marketer, increasing your landing page conversion rates through optimization has a significant impact on your bottom line.

You spend most of your time running A/B tests and tracking your conversion rates, and just like some of your fellow marketers, you’re not happy with your lead generation efforts.

And it’s easy to feel frustrated and under immense pressure, because you’re trying to optimize your conversion rates and prove the ROI of your PPC campaigns. But you can’t understand why your visitors behave the way they do.

Speculation doesn’t help either because most of your assumptions haven’t improved your conversion rates. So, what’s your best bet?

Use qualitative research to understand the reasons behind your visitors’ behavior, so that you optimize your landing page and skyrocket your conversion rates. 

In this article, I’ll explain the ROI of quantitative research, different methods to conduct it, and how to analyze your research data within your database.

Why do you need qualitative research in landing page optimization?

Quantitative research data gives you the numbers with little or no insight into what they mean. So there’s little you can do to make sense of these numbers, leaving you stuck on what you need to do to improve conversions. On the other hand, qualitative research data helps you:

Gain deeper insights behind visitor behavior

There’s always a reason behind every action visitors take on your landing page.

For example, your landing page visitors get subtle subconscious cues from the visual combinations you use, compelling them to take action. They elicit different emotions in your visitors in line with their values and attitudes, determining whether they will trust you or not.

Data from qualitative research tells you why your landing page visitors prefer certain visual combinations over others and the psychological associations they have with them.

It can also directly tell you how to fix bounce rates plaguing your conversions.

The visual combinations you use should complement your landing page copy and make it more compelling for improved conversions.  

Luckily, plenty of website builders even give you these tips and insights when building your website or landing page.  

Klientboost compared the effectiveness of a green CTA button against an orange one.

Spoiler alert: the orange CTA outperformed the green one. Take a look: 

Why was this the case?

The green button blends in with the brand’s colors. Even if it is associated with balance and harmony, it never stood out as well as the orange one did, an aggressive color that breeds excitement and warmth. 

Use a tone and style that helps you connect with your visitors

The kind of copy you use in your landing pages needs to mirror the language that your visitors use when describing their problems.

Qualitative research data provides you with your customers’ thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that allow you to understand their problems and the solutions they need from their perspective. You also understand some of their psychological triggers that you can use when writing your landing page copy.

Say, for instance, you have data telling you that your customers are hellbent on avoiding a particular problem, and your product helps them achieve that. 

Your landing page will mirror the same problem to them using the words and tone they used in your qualitative data to connect with them.

Your data will also help you identify their desires so that you mirror that in your copy to help you earn their trust and boost your conversions.

Here’s how Cubefunder does it on their landing page:

Given that this is a section of copy on their landing page, let us see if these words (or anything close to them) shows up in the reviews they have:

That’s just one review that reflects what is in the landing page copy. And there are more talking about simple and quick yet great service.

Keep up with changing attitudes

73% of buyers expect you to understand their needs and expectations. According to ReferralCandy, this is called the buyer’s journey:

If you aren’t aware of what your customers want, you’re likely to come up with irrelevant offers, hurting your conversion rates in the process. For example, if your site is finance-related, maybe your page needs a helpful cost calculator. If you’re providing how-to content, maybe the video is what your customers are after.

Besides, evolving customer needs and expectations mean that you have new customer segments emerging, and you have to know this so that you customize your offers to meet their needs.

In that case, I’d recommend first learning how to start a blog, so you can address all of your customers’ needs properly and nurture them over time.

However, before you start creating content, just be sure to analyze the qualitative research data, which will let you know exactly what your customers need and expect from you.

The responses you get help you uncover their struggles so that you know what features to add to your product or create new products that meet their needs.

You might even find out that you’re serving one customer segment with different needs, so you create a long-form landing page with sections addressing each need.

So, how do you conduct qualitative research to get high-quality responses that will help you optimize your landing page for improved conversions? That’s what we’re talking about next.

How to conduct qualitative research (and get the responses you need)

You know you need to conduct qualitative research. But which method do you use? What questions should you ask? How do you conduct your research efficiently? For starters, I recommend creating standard operating procedures (or SOPs) for your team to follow when conducting research.

Each of these methods below works well. Here’s what you need to know to help you understand the reasons behind their actions on your landing pages:

  • Why they signed up for your lead magnet or paid for your product. You want to know why your customers bought from you to help you uncover their buying triggers and understand what’s working well on your landing pages. 
  • What would have prevented them from taking action on your landing page and why. You want to know common objections and whether your landing page elements are addressing these objections. 
  • What landing page elements prevent them from taking action and why. Here, you want to improve their experience and remove distractions that lower your conversion rates.

With this in mind, let’s get started on qualitative research methods:

1. Customer surveys

When conducting customer surveys, the goal isn’t collecting as much information as you want to, rather, the right information.

Assuming that you do send a thank you email after a customer buys from you or you have a sequence dedicated to welcome emails for new subscribers, the best time to do a customer survey is right after they buy or sign up for your lead magnet.

It doesn’t have to be long or complicated — one question will do the trick.

Here’s what I mean…

Your welcome email:

(Image Source: SmartBlogger)

Here, you want to start a conversation with your new subscriber. You’re digging deeper to know their needs so that you position your product as their best solution both in terms of the offers you make and the copy you use.

Several themes emerge in these responses, and if you’re keen enough, the language the subscriber uses is unique to their segment.

Your thank you email for your customers:

(Image Soure: Groove)

These emails don’t even look like surveys. They provide enough context, asking open-ended questions, making it easy for the recipient to respond.

Pro tip: Don’t worry about having to ask only one question in this email. The goal is to start a conversation with your subscribers and customers, opening the way for more questions that you have. Afraid you don’t have time to send these emails? No problem, just outsource it to a virtual assistant or a freelancer.

2. Customer service interactions

Your customer service conversations and live chat logs are a goldmine of qualitative data because this is where your customers air their frustrations concerning your product and what’s missing.

Ask your customer service team to show you common customer complaints concerning your product and the positive feedback they have received from customers. If you’re utilizing live website chat, you can easily dive into chat transcripts to read what customers are saying first hand.

3. Customer interviews

Talking to your customers allows you to gather deep insights about them because, as you listen, you understand them better.

These insights provide you with more context that helps you understand the responses you get from your surveys. Here, you have two options: Pick up your phone and call them or interview them on your podcast.

When planning to conduct customer interviews, use a sales automation tool to start running outreach campaigns to get people to interview with you.

To avoid back and forth emails to agree on a suitable date and time, the Woven calendar app comes in handy—you just need to include a link to your schedule. Once your customers click on it, they will see your availability and choose a date and time that works for them.

During your interview, mute your microphone whenever your customer is speaking to avoid interrupting them. Also, request their permission to record the call, so that you listen in to the recording later to make sure you haven’t missed critical details on the information they provide. Transcribe the interview to help you analyze their responses.

Usability testing

You need to understand how your landing page visitors use your landing page so that you eliminate distractions to improve their experience. Common distractions that occur are such as inconsistent ad scent, a hidden call to action button, unfriendly legal forms, unclear headlines, and testimonials that don’t inspire trust in your visitor. Here are three tests to conduct:

6-foot test

Stand six feet away from your landing page and see if your headline and call to action stand out from other elements on your landing page. Alternatively, have someone else do this test for you. If your headline and CTA aren’t visible from six feet, increase your headline’s font size and whitespace on your landing page to improve visibility.

5-second test

This test lets you know whether your offer and value propositions are clear to your visitors. Have someone sit in front of your landing page for five seconds then let them tell you what they got from it.

Web traffic surveys

Use a tool to ask your users questions on your landing page to know what elements prevent them from taking action.

You can also do this remotely by having a set of questions for your visitors to help you know why they aren’t taking action on your landing page. Take a look:

(Image Source: Qualaroo)

Which method will you use to collect your qualitative data? Make a mental note of it because, during analysis, you’ll get plenty of a-ha moments.

How to analyze your research to uncover priceless insights

Depending on the data collection method you decide to use, it’s time to derive meaningful insights from your responses. Here, you’ll start connecting the dots between the numbers you get and your visitor’s behavior.

Step 1: 

Sort out the responses to your questions based on their length. You’re going to end up with two groups of responses: Long and short responses. The longer your responses, the more details they have, so you want to pay attention to the next step.

Step 2:

Analyze the language in these responses to identify common themes that keep emerging.

Since you want your landing page visitors to trust you, you need to speak like you’re one of them by avoiding using language that alienates you from them.

Read through all the responses you have to connect with your visitors’ sentiments then note down words and phrases that appear frequently.

What themes do these words represent? Do they mention a specific thing about your product that they need? Is there a group that needs a new product to meet their needs?

Insert your responses into a word cloud tool for further analysis and to help you compare with what you wrote down when reading through your responses. Or alternatively, you could sit down with your team to do some mind mapping of your ideas on paper or whiteboard.

Step 3:

Using your word cloud results, you already have common words and themes that show up.

Create a hypothesis using the data you have and conduct an A/B test to see what you need to improve or change on your landing page for better conversions.

For example, your data might reveal that your visitors still have trust issues that prevent them from converting, yet you have been using text-based testimonials. 

Your hypothesis will be: 

If I added video testimonials to my landing pages, then I will have better conversion rates because 5 out of 10 buyers watch a video before buying.

Run your A/B test and see which landing page performs better then use it to improve your conversion rates.

Now, let’s look at more examples below to see how qualitative research data has improved landing page conversion rates:

Landing page optimization in action using qualitative research findings

Case study #1:

Remember the 5-second test we spoke about earlier? So, Oli Gardner from Unbounce asked website visitors if they understood what a given email marketing solution does upon reading the headline.

But first, take a look at the headline: 


Is it immediately clear to you what that solution does for you? Yeah, I thought so too.

Yet isn’t it strange that only 6% of the respondents said that they understood what the email marketing solution does for them?

After tweaking and testing a new headline, 20% said they understood what’s in it for them.

Case Study #2:

In another example… Unbounce wrote an ebook, The Noob Guide to Online Marketing, and for visitors to get it, they had to tweet about it.

Initially, the conversion rates for this were 25% so, Oli did a usability test using Qualaroo, asking users why they didn’t convert and whether a tweet was enough to get an e-book.

He uncovered three significant objections in the responses he got:

  • 5% of these visitors were afraid of what would happen after clicking the call to action button. Would they edit the tweet? Would the message automatically appear on their feed?
  • They didn’t want to share an e-book they hadn’t read
  • 39% of the visitors preferred sharing their email addresses to get the e-book. 

So, Oli added an infographic and a text preview, providing more information about the e-book. He also assured the visitors that they would edit the tweet before posting it, convincing them to take action. Here’s the improved version:

The result? Conversion rates shot up to 33%.

Are you ready to use qualitative research and boost your conversions?

Your qualitative research data comes in to fill in the gaps left by your quantitative research data. Having read this far, you know what you need to do to conduct your research.

Start with what you have. If you don’t ask your new subscribers and customers questions, add a question in your email series. If you’ve never done a usability test, start with the 5-second test. The idea is to start where you are and keep moving.

And finally, your qualitative research data won’t be as perfect as you want it to be.

Work with the data you get and, over time, you’ll learn how to ask better questions and get better responses to help you optimize your landing page for better conversions.

Jeremy Moser is co-founder of uSERP, a digital brand-building agency. His work has been featured on HubSpot, Foundr, G2 Crowd, Drift, SEJ, Codeless, Shopify Enterprise, BigCommerce, Nimble, Keap, and many more.